Dallas will hire outside lawyers to review an audit of data missing from the Dallas Police Department and City Secretary’s Office.
As they asked the city attorney Friday to seek proposals from at least three law firms for the work, city council members also heard that the FBI is looking into the issue.
A city information technology employee who has since been fired was blamed for a March data transfer error that lost 22 terabytes of data from police and the city secretary.
Dallas police cleared the employee of criminal conduct before he was fired but they have not determined exactly what data was lost, what can be recovered and exactly how it may impact cases.
An audit is being conducted by police, city IT people and a city vendor.
Assistant Dallas Public Defender Brad Lollar told the city council members Friday that defense attorneys don’t trust what they have heard so far.
“We’re letting DPD or the city IT conduct their own audit. That’s to us down at the courthouse like the fox guarding the henhouse,” Lollar said. “DPD was saying there aren’t any current cases involved. They backed off that. They said there aren’t any crimes against persons cases involved. They backed off that.”
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Dallas Information Technology Director Bill Zielenski said the ongoing audit has not detected additional missing data since a report on Aug. 27.
He said answers about what cases might be affected would not be available until the final audit report is available on Sept. 30.
Former Dallas U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox spoke with city council members about the role outside lawyers might play in reviewing that audit.
“Just as a matter of assurance for purposes of the city so that you could have someone else put eyes on it to make sure that you were assured that nothing else could be done,” Cox said.
Councilman Adam McGough said he also hopes the outside review would provide additional recommendations for future changes in data handling.