City sues emergency dispatch provider for $8.3M

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The city of Indianapolis is suing a North Carolina-based public safety software provider for breach of contract, saying it failed to adequately complete a job to install a new computer-aided dispatch system for police, fire and emergency use.

The city is suing Colossus Inc.—which does business as InterAct Public Safety Systems—for $8.3 million in expenses and damages. It has paid at least $6.6 million to InterAct under the contract, and expects to incur another $1.8 million in excess costs as a result of the alleged problems, according to a complaint filed in Marion County Superior Court.

The case has been moved to federal court as of last week at the request of the defendant. A local lawyer for the company referred IBJ’s questions to a Texas lawyer working for the company, who could not immediately be reached.

A CAD, or computer-aided dispatch, system is a “computer software-controlled system that is used to coordinate the dispatch of police, fire and emergency medical personnel, equipment, as well as related reporting and communications,” according to the city’s complaint.

The city asserts in its complaint that Colossus delayed the implementation of the system several times and failed to adequately staff the project.

The city entered into the agreement in September 2012. The delivery and implementation of the CAD system was supposed to be done by September 2014.

But it took multiple years to make progress.

It appears that the last straw came this past November, when InterAct told the city it would need to extend the project schedule by an additional 90 to 120 days, and it showed a timeline “showing that system cutover activities would not even begin until January 2017.”

The city informed InterAct in mid-December that it would terminate the contract.

“Despite repeated requests from the City, InterAct never provided a comprehensive, detailed and plausible project plan that would allow for the completion of the various testing, cutover and other related activities necessary to provide for operational use of the basic system” before previously agreed upon dates, according to the complaint.

Local media reported in December that the city has reached an agreement with Tri-Tech, the company that provided the old system, to continue system upgrades through 2016.

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