Police unions say computer glitch is creating backlog of arrest warrants

An alleged software glitch in the Santa Clara County court system could be putting public safety at risk.

The assertion comes following a news conference by the city’s police union. Friday, members of several law enforcement unions stepped in front of the cameras, complaining the court’s recently installed computerized system for issuing warrants is glitch prone, which has produced a backlog of more than 2,500 unissued warrants.

“A simple Google search brings up horror stories directly tied to the Odyssey system that the geniuses running our local court decided to purchase,” said Paul Kelly, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association.

The Odyssey software allows an easier interface between the public and criminal justice system. It also lets courts to issue warrants, and have important information about suspects readily available to rank-and-file officers. But multiple county agencies this week have complained in writing of “integration issues,“ dating back to November. And, a “significant backlog of data entry to the Court,” with a, “significant number of issued bench warrants had to be deactivated due to various data problems..”

Now, law enforcement of all stripes fear officer and public safety could be compromised.

“The current computer disaster leaves police officers blind in the field…We cannot know if someone is wanted for a violent crime,” said Tracy Hern, the vice president of the Sunnyvale Public Safety Officer’s Association.

KTVU contacted Tyler Technologies, a North Texas-based company that makes the Odyssey software. Its statement reads in part that the, “Odyssey is used successfully throughout California, in more than 25 courts.” And that, “We have investigated these claims and have verified that Tyler and our products are in no way involved in the issues…”

Officials with the county court said, “There is no malfunction with the warrant process in Odyssey. A systematic change such as this is difficult for all involved. The court has worked hard to address and resolve all critical issues raised.”

“I am worried, based on some of the other complaints I’ve seen from other counties,” said Roger Winslow, the interim president of the Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

Alameda County officials said Odyssey has led to some people wrongly incarcerated. San Jose police union members warn of slower response times, as officers request hand checks of paper files to see if there are active warrants when they do a traffic stop. Tyler technology is threatening a lawsuit over claims its software is to blame.