By James Taylor
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Fire officials say the new computer dispatch software they purchased has been a multi-million dollar disaster.
A 17-page complaint accuses a Texas-based software company of breach of contract and fraud. The company was supposed to modernize the way fire crews are dispatched to emergencies but fire the critical new software doesn’t work, fire officials say.
Dispatchers at Sacramento’s Regional Fire Communications Center take more than 350,000 calls a year. Every fire, medical aid, and rescue request is answered here.
Now a federal lawsuit filed by the center says the facility is facing a dangerous and imminent safety threat. Dispatchers say the computers they use to send emergency help are outdated. They began efforts four years ago to replace them, but after paying more than two $2 million, dispatchers say the new software doesn’t work.
The competitive bid contract was awarded in 2015 to a company now known as Tyler Technologies. The lawsuit says they submitted ” documents containing misleading and false information for the purpose of being selected as the vendor for the project.” And that it will take “17-22 years just to deliver a partial and incomplete portion of the replacement.”
Tyler Technologies issued this statement:
“We maintain a 98% retention rate among our 15,000+ clients across the public sector. Our policy is to work closely with our clients to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.”
Sacramento fire officials are now seeking more than $7 million in damages and they’re beginning the process of selecting a new vendor. They say delays from dispatch software could mean the difference between life and death.
The new software was supposed to start being used in November but the process to modernize the system is starting back at square one.