There’s no arguing the fact that government offices at every level are strapped with very limited budgets, which often results in a reliance on vastly outdated software and hardware. When one agency finally comes up with the funding to invest in a new administrative software, it doesn’t mean the transition will be seamless or that their partner agencies will be able to keep up.
That’s certainly the case with one US city’s police force, who finally made the switch to a new records software, only to discover that the new program isn’t compatible with what the local emergency management personnel in the fire department and the courthouse use. Essentially, the police in Washington, Missouri, can no longer receive communications from the local court system, despite being able to file their own communications successfully. While the goal was to streamline the process in sending messages and important documents like arrest records to the courthouse, the end result has been even greater frustration.
The software they need to correct the problem will cost the department over five thousand dollars, plus an additional yearly subscription fee of over one thousand dollars. By some standards that might not seem very expensive, but for many smaller jurisdictions it is an astronomical budget allotment.
This is why a number of city governments have been exploring open-source solutions, or relying on hometown IT talent to write new software for them. The waste of funds coupled with the loss of efficiency when agency networks no longer work together can not only slow down the work of the local government, but in cases such as this one, can actually result in physical harm.