Company Bails on $2.6 Million Brazos County Contract

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas - Brazos County officials are facing a software problem that could soon become a major issue for the county if left unchecked.

The county contracted with Virginia-based AMCAD to develop an upgraded version of their justice software. The software plays a key role with the Brazos County justice system, automating the management of criminal justice data.

Two years into the project, Brazos County Judge Duane Peters said they ran into a problem with the company.

"They recently said that they are no longer in the criminal justice software development business," said Peters.

Now, the county is not only left with the old, out-of-date system, but they're out about $2.6 million paid to AMCAD for the software.

"We're back to square one," said Peters.

Peters said they'll likely win the case in a court of law, but legal action won't solve all the problems they're facing.

"I don't think there will be a problem winning the suit, it's an obvious breech of contract," said Peters. "I don't know what kind of assets they'll have once we win."

Chief Information Officer for Brazos County Eric Caldwell said they still have the old software, but technical support for the product will not be available after December, 2015.

"So , 18 months from now, we will not have vendor support for the current software," said Caldwell. "We probably average three or four support calls a week."

Caldwell said if they run into a problem with the software after the 18-months is up, the county would essentially be dead in the water.

"See if we can figure out a way to support it either in house, or maybe hire a talent from outside the county to try and come in and help us support it until we can get off of it," said Caldwell.

Peters said it's time for the county to get to work and find a solution.

"We need to hope for the best, and plan for the worst," said Peters.

County Commissioners will discuss forming a committee to address the issue at Tuesday's commissioners court meeting.

Around 12 other Texas counties were affected by AMCAD's decision to pull out of their contract. News 3 phone call to AMCAD hasn't been returned.

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