Audit: Tech overhaul for police, fire three years behind schedule

Portland, Oregon, officials didn't learn lessons from the city's troubled SAP implementation, according to the report

A sweeping overhaul of systems used by Portland, Oregon's fire and police departments is three years behind schedule and about US$10 million over budget, in part because city officials failed to "effectively use lessons learned" from past technology projects, including a troubled SAP software implementation, according to a new audit report.

Portland's Public Safety Systems Revitalization Program (PSSRP) stems from 2005 and encompasses a number of sub-projects to replace the city's computer-aided dispatch, public safety radio, police data and fire and rescue systems.

While the CAD project was "largely successful," in the sense it was completed on time and under budget, two of the other projects have gone way over budget and all three failed to meet their planned schedule, according to the report released Thursday by Portland City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade's office. "Problems with oversight continue to complicate the success of the overall program," it adds.

Even the CAD project had its difficulties, suffering from 400 reported defects after the go-live date. Some police complained the new system was "more difficult to use, hard to read, and slow," according to the report.

Although the radio replacement project will cost 3 percent less than planned, it's expected that the police data and fire systems efforts will see cost overruns between 96 and 277 percent, according to the report.

The total cost of the project is now estimated at $80 million, up from the original tally of about $70 million, according to the audit. All elements were expected to be done by December 2012 but that date has slipped to December 2015, it adds.

These issues "are largely the result of a problematic and shifting governance structure and inconsistent management," according to the audit.

Moreover, Portland officials didn't take proper advantage of some lessons learned through the city's troubled SAP project, such as the need to ensure proper staff training, the report states. That effort ended up tripling its budget and taking more than twice as long to complete, according to another audit released in 2010.

As for the PSSRP, the audit report makes a series of recommendations, including a reevaluation of the effort's leadership structure and extensive testing before any more systems go live, both in the back end and the field.

The audit report is just the latest instance of a public-sector IT project struggling to meet expectations. The U.S. Government and Accountability Office recently said that only three out of 14 large ERP (enterprise resource planning) projects the watchdog agency surveyed were fully on track.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags servicesapplicationsenterprise resource planningSAPsoftwareFinancial / tax

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?