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Prisoners Freed After Cops Struggle With New Records Software

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the get-out-of-jail-free dept.

Crime 128

itwbennett writes Police in Dallas are scrambling after difficulties using a new records management system caused more than 20 jail inmates, including a number of people charged with violent crimes, to be set free. The prisoners were able to get out of jail because police officers struggling to learn the new system didn't file cases on them within three days, as required by law.

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I'm sorry... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296233)

...I'm actually supposed to be getting *out* of prison.

You're in the wrong line, dumbass! Let this dumbass through!

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#47296357)

Idiocracy was closer, but Monopoly predicted this first.

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47296907)

I always interpreted that card as 'use your vast wealth, skilled lawyers and political connections to weasel your way out of court.'

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#47296933)

1 - Those three things are one and the same.

2 - Are you certain nobody bribed those police officers to "make a mistake"?

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#47297531)

Don't attribute to malevolence what one can attribute to ineptness without evidence.

Or put another way, it looks a lot better for the arresting officer if he has arrests that lead to trials that lead to convictions than if he has arrests where the detainee is set free because he can't fill out forms. The former gets one promoted, the latter gets one reassigned to something dead-end, or gets one assigned to the worst shift.

Re:I'm sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296371)

I'm sure I lost more brain cells watching that movie than any other.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47296439)

Stay out of contact with reality in that case, it might make you forget how to breathe...

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#47296393)

Oh, please [youtube.com] .

... and we ain't done yet! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297035)

From the ITWorld article:

Problems will likely crop up "for a few more weeks" as officers become fully familiarized with the software and fixes are applied, according to Brown.

So, if there are any banks that you've been thinking of robbin' or violence you've been wanting to commit, better make sure to get it done within the next few weeks.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#47297081)

Through the door, line on the left, one cross each.

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

Barny (103770) | about 4 months ago | (#47297153)

Ah, no. Freedom.

Eh, freedom for me. They said I hadn't done anything, so I could go free and live on an island somewhere.

Naa, I'm only pulling your leg. It's crucifixion, really.

ob ob Simpsons reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297521)

Alright! Time for a crime spree! /Chester Turley

Republicans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296245)

don't believe in punishing criminals. I'm sure they're only blaming the software. You know the cops in a hellhole like Dallas are all going to asshole Republicans.

PS: Captcha is "hogging." LOL at the perfect description of those fat, disgusting Dallas cops.

Re:Republicans... (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | about 4 months ago | (#47296409)

i was going to mod up your captcha, but the mod points have been mistakenly set free!

Democrats rape women (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297053)

Democrats want to take away guns from young women so they can rape them. I don't know why people keep voting for Democrats that want women raped

Re:Republicans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47298199)

Republicans...
don't believe in punishing criminals.

I know I'm feeding a troll, but.. seriously? The political party most associated with the death penalty does not believe in punishing criminals?

If you've got a bone to pick with Republicans, that's fine. I know I've got plenty. But at least stick to actual facts instead of blatant lies.

Re:Republicans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47298235)

They only believe in punishing _some_ criminals.

The poor ones, who get the death penalty. Not the rich ones who get to pay a small fine and then carry on.

Management botched it again (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 4 months ago | (#47296253)

Sounds like a typical bollix-up: the system was a drastic change from the existing one and difficult to use, and has performance problems on top of that, but management still sent it live and turned the old system off without making sure everyone had thorough training. On top of that they didn't have any extra resources on hand to help with the extra workload as people learned the new program on the job and didn't have anybody familiar with the program on hand to help the users. End result: the entirely predictable train wreck occurred. But of course the management responsible for this will never be held accountable for it. Instead the blame will be put on "the software", instead of the management who signed off on the software being acceptable when it manifestly was not.

Re:Management botched it again (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | about 4 months ago | (#47296369)

The new platform is made by Intergraph, an Alabama company, according to a report this week in the Dallas Morning News.

An Alabama company? I guess that's what happens when your Excel programmers aren't paid the market rate [correctionalnews.com] .

Re:Management botched it again (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 4 months ago | (#47296381)

That assumes they're paying their Excel programmers. More likely they don't have any programmers on staff to pay, they subcontract that tedious and non-core-business detail out to an outsourcing firm in India or China or somewhere.

Re:Management botched it again (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296517)

My guess is the management just dumped the software on them, and its sink or swim time for whoever is below management.

They did that to me at an aerospace company I used to work for. ViewLogic. On a 386SX running Doublespace. I sank. Miserably.

Up to that time, I was quite comfortable using my old DOS tools... Futurenet CAD and PADS PCB. I had spent several years with those and had been introduced to these tools by experienced people.

The new ViewLogic was introduced by removing my old machine and bringing the new machine, along with some books, and a 40-hour charge number to cover training. I rapidly fell way behind, which was good reason for my dismissal. I could never get the hang of operating that thing when it was so underpowered I never knew if I was successful in selecting an item before doing something with it, and I would commonly do something to a previously selected item. Drove me nuts.

However, this was an aerospace company... funded by the government, Its not like they were actually trying to retain anyone. It seemed every Thursday, someone got the ax. If one played his p's and q's right, he got promoted to management, where they were a bit more immune to the layoff and better paid too - and besides they did not have to deal with trying to build the thing they promised to the customer, however the management jobs were usually filled by someone coming in from another aerospace company - often another one that failed.

We were a big company at the time... and since we attracted so many resumes, an engineer wasn't worth much. It looked to me as if we were a dime-a-dozen commodity brought in to sign the line marked "responsible engineer". Something to be soiled like toilet paper, then neatly flushed.

I get the idea the same thing happened here. Whether its learning how to play a new musical instrument, learning a new language, getting the hang of a new neighborhood,,, well all these things take some time. My time constant for this is measured in years. Too long, I suppose.

I have been using EAGLE for about a year now, started at 4.16, now at 6.5.0 , and am finally getting the hang of it when I know something has gone wrong and what to do about it. Yes, I did make a few bad PCB when I do not know what I am doing; I did it with PADS too... - acceptable when one is designing Arduino test boards, but that kind of ignorance is ill-advised when its going into military use.

In the end, the big company failed too. We created a heckuva lot of good stuff, but did not do anything with it. Garmin and Magellan sold stuff based on our work and made money. We just committed big retirement plans to the executives and later sent them on their way on golden parachutes.

After my experiences there, I still have an extreme distrust for men wearing suits.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296699)

This happened at a concrete plant I was working for. They went live with the scheduler not working, the. Layout system not working. Both of those things were my responsibility. It was one of many factors that caused me to quit, because I refuse to take on a job where failure is predefined.

Since I left, they overscheduled something. No great surprise.

Part of the problem was the software company was a team of VB scripters who didn't get their software running before selling it.

Part of the problem was a changeover not at 100% production, but just as we were going into 200% production, with no actual time for debugging much less training.

The proper way to do a changeover in my opinionwould be to change everything out of the old computer system into paperwork, and then when that is working, let go of the old computer system. Then automate and computerize the paperwork step by step until the new system is in place and running well.

Re:Management botched it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297201)

The proper way to do a changeover in my opinionwould be to change everything out of the old computer system into paperwork, and then when that is working, let go of the old computer system. Then automate and computerize the paperwork step by step until the new system is in place and running well.

You cannot possibly believe this.

Re:Management botched it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296735)

"That assumes they're paying their Excel programmers. "

They don't have Excel programmers, the people working there learn Excel on Youtube.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 4 months ago | (#47296885)

Insightful? I was not trying to be insightful. I guess nobody clicked on my link.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

sabbede (2678435) | about 4 months ago | (#47297011)

Can't we just blame VBA like we usually do?

Re:Management botched it again (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 4 months ago | (#47298247)

Excel programmers

I know what each of those words mean, but I just can't comprehend how they fit together.

Re:Management botched it again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296377)

On the other hand, there is NOT ENOUGH MONEY IN THE UNIVERSE to pay for the hand holding you need to do for the average user.

You are damned if you damned if you don't. You cannot make the application simple to use because then it won't do what it needs to do. Make the application powerful and then you pay on the user end side of thing.

Your observation is fine, it just doesn't take into account the reality of training absolute fucking morons to use a computer. Don't forget, these people are only a few genetic percentage points away from flinging shit at the screen.

And this is from someone with the highest of respect for users and learning process.

Re:Management botched it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296757)

That's not my experience at all. I find most people, motivated and spoken to well, to be willing and competent. It's very rare to find an idiot in this world.

Maybe the problem is closer to home?

Re:Management botched it again (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 4 months ago | (#47297075)

It's very rare to find an idiot in this world.

Or maybe everyone just seems smart to you? I hear them all the time. While most people are not complete idiots, I come in figurative contact with at least one a day.

Have you ever had to talk to someone who was wondering why a new employee wasn't showing up in the system, only to find out that person was never entered? ok, that part could be understandable. But then the customer goes into an argument telling me that the new employee is physically there, so they should be in the system. Then she went on to ask me when she should enter that person into the system so this won't happen again. How the $%^& am I supposed to know how to do her job?!

These kind of people are everywhere.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 4 months ago | (#47297859)

Exactly. I can only assume the gp doesn't have to actually support end users. Maybe he is smart enough to not admit he can help anyone and thus they don't bother him.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

rjstanford (69735) | about 4 months ago | (#47297327)

You cannot make the application simple to use because then it won't do what it needs to do. Make the application powerful and then you pay on the user end side of thing.

One thing that I enjoy about both modern development and enterprise development is that - when done correctly - you can actually do both. With task oriented design rather than data oriented design, each workflow can be exactly as simple as it can be and as powerful as it needs to be for every situation. Its harder and more expensive to build this way, but the savings in training and support can more than make up for it. Convincing people of that fact is part of the reason that a good enterprise sales team is expensive.

Re:Management botched it again (4, Interesting)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47296403)

Users problems or more probably passive-agressive resistance. People are not as dumb as they pretend to be. They quickly figure out if there are "problems", that maybe they will fall back to the older, simpler methods quickly. Or bluntly put, we will follow the new orders from above exactly as we were told.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296779)

And to further that spot-on comment, this is exactly the type of behavior you could expect from a unionized workforce. I saw this exact behavior from my father when I was a young kid and would go to work with him. He was a CWA member who ran a small central office for Southwestern Bell (when they still existed). He was almost exclusively the only one there, and he did ONLY what the teletype machine told him to do, and when it told him to do it.

Because of him, I am extreme anti-union. He retired in the early 90's at just over 50yo when a buyout package came along. Pension is over 3k a month and full health insurance for life, and he still gripes.

It's not an invalid situation... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 4 months ago | (#47297379)

If you deploy new software where it does not improve the user experience, then it's valid for the userbase to punish that move to a reasonable extent.

Not to the end result in this article of course, but sharing the pain inflicted by 'change for change's sake' with those who inflict it makes a lot of sense. Sometimes there are requirements to be fulfilled that do matter that make life harder for the users which justify inflicting pain upon the userbase, but in my experience the vast majority of change is a false sense that something must evolve or else it is dead. That sentiment should be punished.

Re:It's not an invalid situation... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47297603)

If you deploy new software where it does not improve the user experience, then it's valid for the userbase to punish that move to a reasonable extent.

This is what happens when you do this to your users instead of for your users.

I have seen instances of IT saying "we're switching to this because it's cheaper/easier for us", and which left the business users completely screwed because IT didn't bother to find out how those systems were used, what depended on them, and what the business needs were.

This sounds like it was deployed pretty poorly.

And, for those of us who have worked in regulated industries ... how someone in law enforcement could do something like this is staggering.

This sounds like an epic fail of UAT and actually being sure your software works as the vendor claims.

Re:change for change's sake (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 4 months ago | (#47297899)

Management where I work (large non-profit daycare & before/after school) listened to someone who wanted to replace our main childcare database with a modified salesforce implementation. The result was clumsy, lots of extra data entry, and had hard-coded fields that didn't apply. It ended up getting ignored and dropped by all the end users.

Re:Management botched it again (4, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | about 4 months ago | (#47296429)

...and turned the old system off without making sure...

It's not like the previous system of oversized crayolas and little yellow sticky notes was much better than the new system. Under the old system, the 20 inmates would have probably been marked released by the system, but kept in jail indefinitely.

Man Suing Dallas County Jail

May 30th, 2007 | By admin | Category: Dallas County, In The News

By Jack Fink, CBS 11

A North Texas man is suing Dallas County and the maker of its jail computer system for violating his civil rights. He claims he was lost in the system for six days.

Jim Muise credits a political leader from a foreign country for helping him get released and now he wants justice.

Muise is an automotive journalist. His stay in the Dallas County Jail kicked his emotions into overdrive.

“I felt like no one on the outside was able to hear me,” Muise said.

Muise said he was falsely arrested outside a Dallas restaurant for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

“I had people, friends of mine, associates of mine sitting outside the jail the morning after I was arrested willing to post the bond, and they couldn’t find me to say how much the bond was,” Muise said.

His name was nowhere to be found in the computer system in February, 2005, a month after it had gone online.

Muise, who is a Canadian citizen, got so desperate at one point he made a collect call to relatives in Halifax, Nova, Scotia. Luckily for him, they’re close family friends with a Canadian senator who in turned called the jail to help find Muise.

Muise was released the next day. “If not for my family and other people working so hard for me, I might still be there,” he said.

He is now suing the county and InfoIntegration, the company that installed the software.

“They knew, or should have known, that if their system didn’t work properly, people’s civil rights would be violated,” Muise’s attorney said.

The company hasn’t responded in court yet, but in a similar case, it denies the system was faulty and inaccurate.

The county hasn’t filed a response in court either, but Commissioner John Wiley Price said the county has corrected the problems.

“We know where people are in the system,” Commission Price said. “We know when they come into the system.”

Muise wants someone held accountable. “Somebody’s got to stand-up for what goes on,” he said.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 4 months ago | (#47296521)

Commission Price, eh? So that's why they lock up everyone they can find.

Re:Management botched it again (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 4 months ago | (#47297903)

Perhaps this could be the origin of a new legal platitude [wikipedia.org] :

'Tis better that 20 guilty persons are freed by a computer error (or computer operator error) than that one innocent person is kept in jail indefinitely by a computer error.

(Doesn't quite have the same ring...)

Re:Management botched it again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47298133)

Just a note, this article is about Dallas *County*, which apparently switched software in 2007 (see the date at the top of this article). The original article was about Dallas City Police, which have just switched over to a new system from Intergraph (the Alabama company), which had similar issues in San Antonio when they switched to Intergraph's system a couple of years ago.

Re:Management botched it again (0)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 4 months ago | (#47296749)

Yep. And rushing things like this through in order to fulfill someone's political ambitions is exactly what happened with tiny matters like, you know, health insurance.

Re:Management botched it again (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 4 months ago | (#47297069)

Twice rather than once, by picking an application which have a steep learning curve for such a task. I cannot imagine you can make this process so complicated you are ending with a steep learning curve for the end-users while the role of the user interface is to ease everything for the user. How could a old system interface being easier to use than the new one? And easier up to the point it is really complicated and you have to invest a significant amount of time and money on training?

How bad could be your user interface to lead to such a thing?

Re:Management botched it again (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#47297229)

Doesn't have to be bad, just different. Just look at the amount of complaining that goes on here about Windows 8, or the Ribbon UI. I'm don't really want to discuss the merits or problems with the above, but even for people who use computers every day, for many hours a day, simply changing the user interface, for better or worse, can significantly impede people's ability to get work done.

Most people would probably say that the current UI of (Insert Word Processor Here) is better than WordPerfect 5.1, but once you knew how to use it, you could get a lot of work done really fast. If you made the switch from WP 5.1 to a current office suite, you'd probably be quite slow for the first little while, as none of your keyboard shortcuts would work, and you'd have to get used to using the mouse for many tasks you could previously do with a couple keystrokes.

People are insanely productive in things like Vim and Emacs, even though they effectively have no UI at all. The people working with the old system knew the ins and outs of the system, and probably didn't even have to think when doing most tasks; they were running on autopilot. Changing the UI, even if it's to a good one, will slow things down significantly.

Re:Management botched it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47298147)

you compared Vim and Emacs to each other in the same sentence! the Vim and Emacs people will go into a frenzy now!

Re:Management botched it again (0)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#47298263)

Steep learning curve would have been good. To have a steep learning curve means that you learn quickly. What they had wasn't a steep learning curve. It was a nearly flat one: you learn and learn and don't make much progress at all.

Re:Management botched it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297385)

Sounds like a typical bollix-up: the system was a drastic change from the existing one and difficult to use, and has performance problems on top of that, but management still sent it live and turned the old system off without making sure everyone had thorough training.

From the article:

The prisoners were able to get out of jail because police officers struggling to use the new system didn't file cases on them within three days, as required by law, according to the newspaper.

and

Also, some officers didn't take the training that was made available, he added. "It was a voluntary thing to get familiar with it, and some didn't take advantage of that."

Don't blame the software for lazy cop behavior.

Re:Management botched it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297695)

Also, some officers didn't take the training that was made available, he added. "It was a voluntary thing to get familiar with it, and some didn't take advantage of that."

74 comments and you're the only one who has brought up this INCREDIBLY CRUCIAL piece of the story. Now I remember why I only visit /. once every few months anymore.

Poor Cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296257)

The damned thing keeps resisting and all their tried and true methods (bashing, shooting, tazering) just seem to make the problem worse.

This is what a right is (5, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | about 4 months ago | (#47296269)

I see this is an unmitigated good thing. Accused of a violent crime or not, we are all endowed with the right, recognized and protected by the Constitution, to due process, and a speedy trial.

IT problems don't abridge that right. Police officers having a tough day don't abridge that right. The learning curve doesn't abridge that.

Re:This is what a right is (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 4 months ago | (#47296285)

It's a good thing that the prisoners rights were respected, regardless of the problem being an IT one at root.
It's a bad thing that an IT problem is causing cops to be unable to file paperwork that would result in proper processing of prisoners

Re:This is what a right is (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#47296583)

It's even worse that the cops didn't escalate the issue after two days had passed and they were running out of time.

Re:This is what a right is (2)

MickLinux (579158) | about 4 months ago | (#47296721)

What's to escalate? When the schedule flat out doesn't work, and your calls to customer service get handed over to a customer svc agent's voice mail, unless they want to talk to you, and they don't... that was what happened with us, I have no idea what happened with them... escalate doesn't help.

Re:This is what a right is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296869)

If you can't get support then whoever made the purchase signed up for the wrong SLA, escalating in that case would be to your superiors and not support

Re:This is what a right is (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#47296905)

What's to escalate? When the schedule flat out doesn't work, and your calls to customer service get handed over to a customer svc agent's voice mail, unless they want to talk to you, and they don't... that was what happened with us, I have no idea what happened with them... escalate doesn't help.

In that case, an intelligent man wouldn't just have called customer service. They would have called customer service and told them that if the software provider doesn't send help, twenty violent prisoners will get released, and the prison admin will give these prisoners the addresses of anyone they can find at software company to say "thank you" to them in person.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297003)

That would be a threat. But no problems, 3 days later you'd be released and have their address.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

Ozymandias_KoK (48811) | about 4 months ago | (#47297399)

Why do you think violent criminals released from jail due to crappy software would be somehow mad at the software company?

Re:This is what a right is (1)

GlennC (96879) | about 4 months ago | (#47297601)

That assumes that "anyone they can find at software company" is anywhere near the jail.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

praxis (19962) | about 4 months ago | (#47298393)

What's to escalate? When the schedule flat out doesn't work, and your calls to customer service get handed over to a customer svc agent's voice mail, unless they want to talk to you, and they don't... that was what happened with us, I have no idea what happened with them... escalate doesn't help.

For starters, they could have filed their paperwork without using the new software. It stands to reason there was a system in place before this upgrade. I'm sure they had a plan B, right? If not, then I hope they learned a lesson.

Re:This is what a right is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296965)

This wasn't an IT problem. This was a learning problem by people. IT is a tool. If you don't know how to use the tool, well, that's your own damn fault.

That said, if the LEO's weren't given adequate time to learn the new system, and/or there wasn't a grace period for use of the system, then that's the States fault.

And if it's the States fault, since the 'State' is a non-physical entity, nothing will be done about it.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296319)

Doesn't mean it's not stupid.

Re:This is what a right is (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47296349)

IT problems don't abridge that right. Police officers having a tough day don't abridge that right.

No, but they should have a backup system to meet the 3 day requirement, regardless of any IT issues.

Re:This is what a right is (2)

Przemo-c (1010877) | about 4 months ago | (#47296363)

What's that mythycal backup thing you speak of.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296397)

A word processor/printed file, or even legibly written handwritten file that is filed so as to be easily accessible, with instructions for its retrieval on the standard system until the file can be stored properly within the standard system?

Re:This is what a right is (3, Funny)

Neumann (240442) | about 4 months ago | (#47296455)

It is what we in the business like to call requirements.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47297141)

What's that mythycal backup thing you speak of.

A mechanical typewriter a photocopier, and a manual courier to bring copies for manual filing to all concerned parties, if necessary.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47296441)

" "was outdated, antiquated, not easily worked on, but it was familiar," Brown said. "This is a new system and very unfamiliar." "

this being said, I can't really see filing the charges as being more cumbersome than doing the paperwork for letting them go.

on top of that, once they do get around to filing the charges they'll need to go arrest them again. but many of the coppers just skipped the training and perhaps maybe, just maybe, didn't give a fuck if the charges were put into the system or not.

Re:This is what a right is (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 4 months ago | (#47296791)

> this being said, I can't really see filing the charges as being more cumbersome than doing the paperwork for letting them go.

I'm afraid it's not uncommon, especially at first. Handwritten documents have room for describing circumstances, many automated systems do not, or lack the necessary categories and wind up with the documents miscategorized or misdirected when first used. It's certainly common with trouble ticket and budget systems: I'm facing several such cases right now.

Re:This is what a right is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297425)

If you don't file charges within the deadline, there *is* no paperwork required to let them go. That's the whole point. You need to file the paperwork to *keep* them.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

hydrodog (1154181) | about 4 months ago | (#47297671)

What about !@!& paper? The police ought to be able to file these things by paper within 24 hours. Electronically, it should get there in 5 minutes. An expedited form on paper is at the least, a requirement in the event of a blackout. Who are the idiots who came up with this "system" anyway?

Re:This is what a right is (2)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#47296425)

You are correct that nothing abridges that right. (I take the highly deviant and unpopular line that rights are inalienable, that that is why we don't just call them permissions.)

To say that it is an unmitigated good is, though, perhaps not a conclusion you can safely draw. It carries the implication that all contributing causes were also good, which is self-evidently false. The right is good. The requirement that things be properly documented is good. The staffing levels are bad (police officers should be providing the raw information, not reconstructing it to fit a specific system - have data entry specialists handle data entry). The system sounds very very bad - and unstable (who wants HAL running a criminal justice system?).

Releasing the individuals was correct, but correct for the bad reason that every level of the system failed.

That they couldn't manage in three days what police in Britain were once expected to do within 24 hours (now expanded to 48, as computer technology has been added, which seems kinda weird) shows that the wrong people are doing work that is wrong. If a manual system could do the job in one day, a computer-based one should be faster. Yes, there's more complex analysis to be done, but mass spectrometers can be thrown into the back of a van and give you results in minutes. DNA analysis for a tiny handful of markers (typically 12 for criminology, versus the 150 often needed for genealogy) can be done in an hour, tops. In-the-field DNA sequencers designed to look for specific information can also be thrown into said van.

Actually searching and finding things is the slowest part, but you shouldn't be looking for evidence to convict someone, you should be looking for evidence in order to determine who it is who should be convicted. In that case, search and lab time should only ever precede an arrest, which means everything that matters will already be known and in the computer.

In that case, the only new information is that surrounding the arrest and any supplemental information provided by the suspect. Confirming that supplemental data should not be relevant to the case, if the case warranted bringing the person in at that point. Even if it is, you're looking at three or four hours in parallel with the data entry. Raw data is raw data, that can be delivered live from a mobile lab or detective, so it's merely the time to get there, find the supplemental evidence and run the analysis.

With a modern setup, the time between initial arrest and completing the filing should never exceed 6 hours. Three days is stupid.

If six hours isn't enough time to do everything, do more (much, much more) beforehand and parallelize the shit out of everything after. If you don't have the money, find it. If necessary, reduce coverage until you can afford it, then demand taxes pay to cover everyone else correctly. If a couple of extra people get robbed or murdered, you've reduced false convictions by far more than that, so there's a net reduction in deprivation and death. You trade a negligible bit of extra crime in the streets for a massive reduction in crime by cops and/or in prisons. You get a miniscule dash of extra cynicism in the populace, but carve vast chunks of cynicism and contempt within the constabulary.

Seems an acceptable price to pay in order to have acceptable cops and acceptable standards.

Re:This is what a right is (2)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47296443)

Well, they can hire you and you will work overtime for free. Between the work, coffee and donuts, they barely have time to file the reports, have day? You are assuming they just handle that case and nothing else.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47296447)

damn automatic dictionary corrections...

Re:This is what a right is (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 4 months ago | (#47297925)

Great post. I think there may be cases where 6 hours is pushing it, but you're absolutely right that 24 hours should be a limit. If people are getting arrested where it takes more than 24 hours to gather enough evidence to charge them, then the police should be doing more research and collecting more evidence BEFORE the arrest.

Re:This is what a right is (0)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47296445)

Only labeling them terrorists does. Maybe they should have thought of that.

Re:This is what a right is (1)

mlw4428 (1029576) | about 4 months ago | (#47298239)

Due process and speedy trial could be argued as including additional processing time due to a new records management system. Obviously a reasonable amount of time should be considered, I'd think that some additional time, especially for a violent crime, would not be considered unreasonable.

Guantanamo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296553)

"The law is real simple," Judge Rick Magnis from the 283rd Judicial District Court told the paper. "The Constitution in America says you can't hold people without charges."

Except in Guantanamo.

Re:Guantanamo (0)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#47297085)

American citizens. Enemy combatants are not legally equivalent, though we've got an ongoing jackwagon effort to force that.

Re:Guantanamo (2)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 4 months ago | (#47297707)

Really? Have you read the Constitution?

your interpretation is wrong, the Constitution lays the foundation for the US Government and outlines restrictions on the government. It does not grant rights and it does not say "The government can not do this to American Citizens"

For example, Amendment #1

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I could list them all but basically it restricts the government from taking actions that violate our inalienable rights. Those are the ones that we are granted by our creator. Some one in government decided that they can violate those restrictions provided it is only done to people outside the US. In my opinion that is BULL SHIT!

Re:Guantanamo (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#47297773)

What you seem to be saying is tantamount to making the U.S. Constitution binding around the globe, eliminating all borders, giving us all the same passport (which would seem obviated) and establishing a lone world currency. But I don't think you mean that. Perhaps further thought, then? Or are you one of those new "feeling" people that just emotes away until running out of gas? #AskingForARachelMaddowFan

Re:Guantanamo (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 4 months ago | (#47297917)

No what I am saying is that the US government can not pick and choose which restrictions it wishes to be bound by.

What you are suggesting is that the US could pass a law that says "All non-citizens must be Christian" or that it would be OK to search, arrest, and detain anyone who is not a US citizen for no other reason than "S/He is not Christian"

If you think about it, allowing the government to do such things can, and more than likely will, lead to the government deciding who is and is not a true "Citizen" Thus creating a subclass of people who have no protected rights and can be detained, used for labor, and considered less than other Americans. Maybe they will be nice and say they are 1/5 of a citizen.

Re:Guantanamo (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 4 months ago | (#47297999)

What you are suggesting is that the US could pass a law that says "All non-citizens must be Christian" or that it would be OK to search, arrest, and detain anyone who is not a US citizen for no other reason than "S/He is not Christian"

I think that's a pretty extreme reading of GP's position.

I mostly agree with you, but you have to admit that there are quite a few instances where the U.S. government grants rights to citizens that are not granted to non-citizens in random places around the world (e.g., right to vote, right to collect various government benefits, etc.).

The main RELEVANT situation to the present discussion is prisoners of war. There are centuries of legal precedent saying that foreign people captured as prisoners of war do NOT have standard legal rights under the U.S. justice system. (Imagine if, in the midst of WWII, we had to ship back every German and Japanese soldier we captured, arraign them, and put them on trial -- not only would it be practically impossible, but it would violate various "rules of war.") They DO have certain rights under the Geneva convention accords that the U.S. government signed onto.

Now -- the LEGAL question in the case of "enemy combantants" or Guantanamo or whatever is: Are the persons in question legally equivalent to "prisoners or war" or are they not? If they are "prisoners of war," there's clear precedent saying the U.S. government does NOT have to grant them various rights. Or are they something else (as it seems our government claims), a new legal category?

Personally, I agree with you -- the U.S. government shouldn't be able to detain random people from around the world indefinitely, unless there's something like an official declared war or something, and even then, there needs to be adherence to the Geneva protocols, etc.

But your idea that everyone -- citizen or not -- has the same rights under the U.S. Constitution is simply wrong.

Re:Guantanamo (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#47298015)

What you are suggesting is that the US could pass a law that says "All non-citizens must be Christian"

What are you even talking about? U.S. law has no effect on non-US citizens. When people engage in war with the US under the Geneva Conventions a special set of rules applies. When people are engaging in war with the US outside the scope of the Geneva Conventions (as in the Guantanamo detainee case) the rules are what you see: humane treatment, but not full-on Geneva Convention status.

You mostly seem to be making up the argument as you go, and paying scant attention to US and international law as it stands.

Re:Guantanamo (2)

praxis (19962) | about 4 months ago | (#47298429)

What are you even talking about? U.S. law has no effect on non-US citizens.

The visitors to our country would disagree with you. I'm pretty sure that if you were shot and maimed by a legal tourist from abroad you would hope the US law applied to them. Or if you were t-boned by a legal tourist from abroad running a red light.

Re:Guantanamo (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#47298337)

What is it with everyone and their dog that they think U.S. laws apply to citizens only? The fuck? Are the people who think that way really that dumb? Protip: law applies to anyone present within the jurisdiction of said law, unless a given law specifically states otherwise. The only group of people that is treated specially within the U.S. Constitution are native people ("Indians").

Guantanamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297215)

Guantanamo, Cuba, that is.

Ok, technically he wrote "The Constitution in America", rather than "The Constitution of the United States", so yes, if you include north, south and central America, Cuba would be an exception (among many, I believe). But if you read it as the US Constitution (as likely was the intended meaning), Cuba is not really an exception, because Cuba was never a part of the United States.

Which, btw, is why Cuba was chosen in the first place.

Give cops a break! (1, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 4 months ago | (#47296681)

After all, they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Re:Give cops a break! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296803)

But once these people are out of jail, maybe they could find some knifes and hand deliver them?

Yes, it's a bad joke, but I'm thinking about abusive spouses, in particular, as people likely to be released from prison and hurt their original victim. And if their abused spouse or families don't know they've been released, which seems likely, it could compound the dangers.

Re:Give cops a break! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297369)

But once these people are out of jail, maybe they could find some knifes and hand deliver them?

It's the management that failed. But, as usual, they will not be held accountable, even if an innocent is killed.

Article Spin Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296897)

Scrambling
Struggling
"including a number of people charged with violent crimes"

Won't someone please think of the children?

Re:Article Spin Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297705)

..says the anarchist who will never have kids, and naively believes bad things only happen to other people, unless they're caused by "the man".

What..... (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 4 months ago | (#47297249)

You didn't think a test run was a good idea?

Re:What..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297439)

And where exactly does it say there was not one?

3 days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297485)

I think it's ridiculous that they be imprisoned for that long without cases filed against them. This is how 3 months in solitary confinement with no charge happens.

Colorado has about a 25% error rate (3, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 months ago | (#47297523)

An audit [huffingtonpost.com] found this after the murder of Corrections Chief a couple years ago by someone let out early. The error rate is mostly due the complexity of readjusting sentences for new infractions in prison and good behavior credit. The errors are both longer and shorter.

Simple Solution (1)

FearTheDonut (2665569) | about 4 months ago | (#47297701)

If they only would have used an Apple product, or better yet an iPad, this never would have happened in the first place...

That's a new one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47297813)

Texas cops used to just keep people locked away until they had their paperwork and in order. And if somebody spent a week there while they were working on it; oh well.

Software was missing an option: (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47298029)

Suspect fell down the stairs.

That's insane. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47298141)

Also, some officers didn't take the training that was made available, he added. "It was a voluntary thing to get familiar with it, and some didn't take advantage of that."

What a good idea make training on an essential system to do your job voluntary. Given it's the police I'm also going to assume that anyone who couldn't do their job because they didn't bother with the training is going to get promoted rather than sacked. And whomever decided to make it voluntary is also getting a promotion or two.

How can there not be a pen and paper backup? All someone has to do to get out of jail is arrange for the police IT systems to be offline for a few days after they are arrested? Now I realize most criminals aren't super villain masterminds but that seems silly. How did they manage to hold gangster types in the 1920s?!?

Given this is America if someone is released from jail due to this and assaults/murders someone is the software company going to feel the lawsuits? Or the police department? The officer who decided to skip training because it clashed with half price day at Dunkin' Donuts?

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