The Minneapolis Police Department's only crime records computer that's open to the public is still offline, causing records staff and reporters problems. The computer hasn't worked since Jan. 19, when a taped-on note appeared, reading: "We expect the computer to be back up tomorrow."
The public uses the computer to obtain information about crime locations, dates, arrests and charges. KARE-11 news reporter Bernie Grace, who goes to the records unit on a daily basis, wrote in an e-mail that the computer shutdown slows his reporting.
"I feel guilty constantly bothering the workers who take the time out of their busy schedules to pull police reports, which should be accessible with a keystroke," Grace said.
Police Technician Sandra Kellogg-Dorsey said the computer shutdown creates time-consuming work for police technicians and also raises data privacy risks.
While the computer is down, police technicians must sort through crime reports printed for the public and black out the identities of witnesses, victims, juveniles and suspects that legally should not be public information.
The records staff said the computer problems began after the Police Business Technology Systems Unit upgraded the computer system with new software. Representatives from the Business Technology Systems Unit did not return repeated calls for comment about the problem or to say when it will be fixed.
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