$4M and 4 years later, HPD computer upgrade still not ready

$4M and 4 years later, HPD computer upgrade still not ready
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Police Department has shelled out millions of dollars over several years for a computer upgrade that's still not ready.

Now, city leaders want to know why.

Last year, Hawaii News Now reported that HPD walked away from a $4 million contract with Motorola to upgrade the department's dispatch and records system.

Since then, HPD tasked two of their own, computer-savvy cops with the upgrade.

But, police sources say, it's been 10 months and the officers haven't been able to come up with a reliable alternative.

"I am concerned about the fact that HPD is doing this in-house and if that's the direction they want to continue to pursue, then they need to move more quickly," says Councilman Ron Menor, chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

The system is central to the department's work, linking police reports from officers in the field to the work of detectives.

Recently, officers got training on the new, in-house system, and complained that it crashed frequently. The problems forced the department to postpone the system's roll-out.

In the meantime, officers are still using the old, unreliable system.

Late Wednesday afternoon, HPD responded to Hawaii News Now's questions about the system upgrade, saying that an in-house overhaul was most cost effective and that the two officers charged with the work have extensive experience.

HPD also acknowledges there are problems with the upgrade, but says they are being addressed.

Menor says that's not good enough.

"If I continue to hear complaints from officers that the system is antiquated and it's not supporting their ability to do an effective job in law enforcement, then I think the City Council needs to ask tough questions," he said.

Menor added that he wants HPD to consider using another contractor with specialized knowledge of police systems.

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi echoed Menor's concerns, saying the problem has been going on for years and needs to be fixed.

"I've been concerned about this because to me that's the bottom line. It protects the police officers and the public," she said.

The City Council also wants to know if HPD consulted with the City's technology department, and if the two officers are qualified enough to create a system capable of handling a million police reports a year and millions of data points.

Another concern: Who will maintain the system, should those officers be unavailable when a problem arises?

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