Software Error Contributes to Fatal Shooting

Law Enforcement Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Virginia and involves a potential software breakdown of the computer aided dispatch system for a county police department that resulted in the shooting death of two individuals. The plaintiffs in this case were two bounty hunters who were attempting to apprehend a fugitive. There was a police unit that was assigned to the bounty hunters as they entered a residential development. As they executed their search through the housing development, a resident called 911 due to the suspicious activity of the two men. When that call was placed the computer aided dispatch system routed the call to a different unit that responded to the scene and did not alert the police units assigned to the bounty hunters. The unit then responded, which resulted in a shooting. It is believed that the computer aided dispatch system failed due to a serious flaw in its design, contributing to the accidental shooting death of the men.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1.) Are you familiar with Computer Aided Dispatch Systems? If so, please describe your understanding.

Expert Witness Response E-009242

Expert-ID: E-009242

I am very familiar with computer aided dispatch systems, having spent over 40 years in the law enforcement technology/software space. I have been a founder of three companies in the law enforcement information systems field, providing computer aided dispatch and police records management software applications to hundreds of law enforcement agencies. I have seen many demos of the this particular system on several occasions and I am familiar with the company’s long history in the CAD field. I can help determine the extent to which the CAD system used here meets industry standard functionality. It would appear that the failure in this system should not have occurred, and it is likely that the shooting could have been avoided had the system been designed/functioned properly.


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