Billing Dispute Interrupts Dallas Police Online Reports

By Lita Beck
|  Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009  |  Updated 10:57 PM CDT
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Access Denied: DPD Online Reports Blocked

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Access Denied: DPD Online Reports Blocked

An information technology vendor is giving new meaning to the phrase "hardball tactics" as he seeks a new contract for his services with the city of Dallas.
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An information technology company and the city of Dallas are locked in a dispute over payment for the police department's online reporting system.

Butler Solutions Inc. told the city Tuesday that it was shutting down the system because the company has not been paid since January.

The system went down Tuesday, blocking the public, the media and even Dallas police from accessing it. The public site came back online at about 8:30 p.m.

"It's not a great thing when you lock the city of Dallas out," said Frank Librio, a city spokesman.

City officials said Dallas doesn't owe Butler Solutions any money, saying they believe the move is a tactic to try and squeeze more money out of a new contract.

James Butler, of Butler Solutions Inc., has been performing maintenance on the police department's data systems since 2002. The city said the company provides the services for about $20,000.

The company created the software, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Librio said Butler has been seeking a $75,000 contract with Dallas for the company's services.

"This gentleman has been a trusted vendor with the city of Dallas and has done good work with the city of Dallas the last several years," Librio said.

Dallas police said they have a backup system in place that allows officers to access critical information. The system going down did not compromise any investigations, police said.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said it would be "very difficult" to award a future contract to the company despite its long history with the city, considering the circumstances.
 
Repeated calls to Butler for comment were not returned Tuesday.

Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.

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