Frustrations of a Police Chief

Probably one of the most frustrating experiences any police chief has is the need to deal with second party vendors. In the past 30 days, I’ve had to threaten litigation against 3 vendors, just to get them to return calls and finish work.

I take my responsibility as a steward of taxpayer money very seriously and I can’t think of any lower life form than a company who tries to screw public funds in a public safety venue that puts the lives of men and women at risk.

Over the years I’ve fought over shoddy light bars, bad ballistic vests, lousy radio systems, “vapor ware” and the list just goes on and on.

Next month, I’ll be attending another International Chiefs of Police session. I plan on introducing a suggestion that the department of justice establish best practice standards for those wishing to do business with public safety entities and suggest that the DOJ tie in a provision of criminal prosecution for any company who receives dollars from recent grants or stimulus monies that will hold the officers and agents of those companies criminally liable for misrepresentation of products or performance.

Since my most recent assignment, I’ve been battling with a records management vendor that has over 1/2 million dollars tied up in software with the department. They charge us to go to their users conferences (hefty prices too) just to be indoctrinated into their products. I dealt with this product about 20 years ago and it wasn’t good then and the service was even worse. In 20 years, they have only proven that worse can really get worse.

They seem to believe there are deep pockets in small local governments. In their arrogance their management team and apparently their sales staff believes all police chiefs are ignorant about information technology issues. As someone who used to develop records management systems, I can certainly tell them that the “emporor has no clothes” and their sweetheart deal is over.

The annual maintenance fees, nearing $100k are a joke since we receive virtually nothing in return. I could go out and buy another entire RMS for that amount alone and am close to doing so.

If they truly feel that being “locked” into one system deters leaving, I’ve got a surprise for them. Working with a dysfunctional system that isn’t in sync with the state mandates of our location puts them in an instant disadvantage. I’m also thinking that I’d be happy to consult with them on the development of customer services skills for their sales staff and account reps.

At this point, I won’t name the western US law enforcement software company. The irony is that most agency heads who have the experience with them will know. Once my national survey is complete with the satisfaction of this company and others, I’ll post the information here.

It will take some time and quite frankly, I’m hoping that by the time I’m ready to release the information, I’ll have a new vendor.

See You Later Down the Road, just don’t spill the soda while you drive man.

About Gary Smith

Chief Smith has served over 31 years in the criminal justice field. He is currently a consultant assisting public and private organizations better establish community goals and ethical conduct with the members of their organizations. Chief Smith serves as a facilitator, lecturer, professor and other capacities both inside and outside the criminal justice field.
This entry was posted in U S Politics. Bookmark the permalink.