DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Problems piling up for Dallas' police patrol cars. Now, the CBS 11 I-team has uncovered, the company that was hired to update the computers inside those city cars can be tied back to indicted County Commissioner John Wiley Price.
The news has some city leaders demanding answers. They want to know why the computers in police patrol cars don't do what they're supposed to. They also have questions about why the city awarded the system contract to a company with similar issues in other cities.
CBS 11 I-Team Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal tracked down John Wiley Price after Dallas County Commissioner's Court Tuesday in an effort to talk with him about Unisys Corp. He played it off like he didn't remember the company.
But the thing is, back in 2008, Price sat on the county technology committee that hired Unisys Corp. to handle the inmate phone services at the jail.
"You don't remember working with Unisys back a few years ago on a county contract," Villarreal asked.
"Could have," Price quickly responded.
"You don't remember seeing them in your indictment at all," Villarreal followed up.
Price answered, "I haven't read it."
"You haven't read the indictment," Villarreal said.
"I haven't read them," Priced added before driving away.
If the name Unisys sounds familiar to you – It could be because of a story the CBS 11 I-Team did last week. In it, Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal explained how Unisys was awarded a contract with the City of Dallas to handle the police department's records management system.
"They are, apparently, one of the companies alleged to have paid a bribe," Councilman Phillip Kingston mentioned in a recent interview with the CBS 11 I-Team. "At the City of Dallas we don't do business with people who pay bribes."
Unisys worked with a subcontractor called Denali-Intergraph to integrate a new records management system used by police patrol car computers. The system is supposed to give them access to full police reports, warrants, jail information and real-time stats. But since June, when the system went live, police officers tell us the problems have piled up. They include everything from booted users to lost reports and criminals accidentally being released from jail.
"Even if it was just a matter of, it was an annoying tool for officers to use that was wasting police time, that'd be enough of a reason to look into it. That it has caused a public safety problem, in my mind, raises it to the level of emergency," Councilman Kingston told us.
Unisys won the city computer contract with a bid of $7.4 million back in 2010. But they weren't the lowest. The I-Team found out Indico, a Fort Worth technology company with a proven track record, bid $5.6 million.
Councilman Kingston explained if Unisys or its subcontractors aren't living up to the terms of their contract, the city has several options for taking action.
"The city attorney could open an investigation tomorrow and I think really ought to," Kingston noted. Despite e-mailing and calling them several times, the city's CIS Department is not commenting about this story.
Unisys did tell us they've been cooperating with the feds as a witness in the John Wiley Price investigation, but wouldn't say anything more about their contract with the city.
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