Police officials say the Odyssey system has failed to properly disclose "thousands" of records uploaded by court staff. Of particular concern, bench warrants issued by judges are allegedly not appearing when police officers are running an identity check on suspects. This situation would leave officers unaware of a potentially dangerous suspect or fugitive during a traffic stop, said Paul Kelly, president of the San Jose Police Officers' Association.
"On behalf of every law enforcement association in Santa Clara County, I want to express my outrage at the Superior Court administration," Kelly said. "We're in danger because of a flawed court management system."
In a statement on Friday, Jan. 25, the Santa Clara County Superior Court administration emphatically denied the existence of any software glitch behind the problems, although they acknowledged they had a backlog for uploading some records.
"A systemic change such as this through all case types is difficult for all involved, including process and cultural changes," the court statement explained. "The court has worked to address and resolve all critical issues raised."
The Odyssey system is used in about 25 local court systems across California as well as countless others in other states. Locally, the most widely reported problems are in Alameda County, where public defenders have said the system is to blame for false arrests, extended jail stays and suspects being falsely tagged as sex offenders.
Reached for comment, Tyler Technologies representatives described the complaints as nothing new, and they pointed to prior responses issued last year. In Alameda County, Tyler officials say the faulty record-keeping was due to a heedlessly quick timeline demanded by the county. As of last year, Alameda County is in the process of severing its civil courts from the Odyssey system.
In 2014, Santa Clara County signed a deal to integrate the Odyssey system as part of a joint contract with Napa and Monterey counties. The full contract includes a $2.1 million in software license fees and an additional $440,000 in annual maintenance costs. The contract also stipulates an additional $3.3 million in professional services, of which Santa Clara County was obligated to pay $2.2 million.
For about three years, the Santa Clara County Superior Court has used the Odyssey software for civil, family law, juvenile and probate cases. The system was adopted for criminal cases in November.
Officials from several police officers' associations in Santa Clara County say they discovered the extent of the Odyssey system's problems late last month. Court records uploaded by clerical staff were disappearing in the database system, they claimed. At one point, the number of records lost due to software errors totaled more than 17,000, Kelly said. He now believes that number has been reduced, but still remains significant.
Kelly urged the county to return to its older police records database.
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