Criminal Justice Information Compliance and Innovation

Nov 3, 2015

As Phoenix Police adjust to a new record-management system, detectives have been told to stop submitting cases because the department can’t keep up with its caseload.

“Do not submit cases until further notice, as they will only add to the growing pile in Court Services,” according to an internal email obtained by ABC15.

SEE THE EMAIL

The email was sent October 29 to detectives in the Family Investigations Bureau, which investigates cases involving domestic violence and crimes against children.

ABC15 has confirmed that detectives in other investigative units have also been instructed to hold off on submitting cases. The freeze on submitting cases mostly affects detectives getting cases heard before grand juries and getting warrants filed, sources said.

It wasn’t clear how many cases have been held by detectives so far. According to the email, a Tuesday meeting is scheduled to try and address the issue.

Sources also told ABC15 there is a backlog of hundreds of cases that haven’t been assigned to detectives. Supervisors are having trouble keeping up with the new system and getting initial reports approved, sources said.

The system also experienced an outage Monday afternoon – the second in the past week .

ABC15 contacted Phoenix Police and the City Manager’s Office for comment about the email. Neither specifically addressed the issue of detectives being told to hold cases.

However, both sent statements.

From Phoenix Police: “The Department’s new record management system remains very healthy. We are successfully moving forward and making progress on a daily basis. As we expected, with such a large step forward, many of our processes have changed.  We are continuing to learn and work through the new capabilities. Our Records Management and IT teams will remain in place for the next several weeks, or months, if needed to help with our transition.  For those who are interested in the system, our next public update will occur at the Public Safety Subcommittee meeting on November 17th.”

From Phoenix Assistant City Manager Milton Dahoney:

“Since the RMS program was activated several weeks ago, the City Manager’s Office continues to be updated and work with the Police Department to move this technology forward.

The implementation is a top priority and while overall the system is functioning the way it was intended to, staff continues to work through both technical glitches and successes.”

The city spent $30 million on the project, which included replacing many of the department’s computers.

Since the launch, ABC15 learned several suspects were released because officers couldn’t get paperwork filed in time. Three of the cases were for misdemeanor warrants. The other was a felony suspect, who officials said was immediately re-arrested.

In places like Dallas, New York, San Antonio, San Jose, Washington, D.C. and Virginia, police departments have had a wide range of problems with things like lost police reports or 911 dispatch crashes.

Phoenix pushed back the launch of the new system for more than a year.

Officials said they wanted to avoid the issues experienced by other departments. Those delays ended up costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the old system running.