Dallas City Council committee votes to hire firm to investigate Dallas PD over data loss

Members of a Dallas City Council committee voted to hire an outside firm to independently investigate the Dallas Police Department.

The audit is the result of two data loss events that resulted in missing files for more than 17,000 cases.

RELATED: 17,000 criminal cases affected by Dallas PD data loss

Committee members spent a lot of time questioning the city's chief information officer about the data loss.

They expressed their concern and frustration over the lack of management and oversight.

The committee also voted to hire an outside law firm to audit the data loss.

A 131-page report, put together by the city of Dallas’ ITS risk management department, detailed just how much crucial Dallas PD data was lost during an incident back in March, when a now-fired city employee deleted the files.

"I found it shocking and stunning to read," Dallas City Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn said.

"The report confirms that 20.677 terabytes of archived data, totaling 8.7 million individual data files, were permanently deleted, impacting data collected by Dallas Police Department," city of Dallas chief information officer Bill Zielinski said.

That data included audio, video, case notes, and other items collected by DPD as part of ongoing criminal investigations, many of them involving family violence. 

Members of the city’s Ad Hoc Committee on General Investigating and Ethics were briefed on the report Thursday.

"I don't think we can ever fully apologize for the cases that don't move forward because of these errors," Mendelsohn said.

The report also points to inadequate management controls within the information and technology services department. 

"There's an ongoing law enforcement review and assessment being conducted into the data loss," Zielinski said.

The FBI is leading that investigation into the former employee.

RELATED: FBI now investigating Dallas PD's massive data loss

As a result, the Dallas Police Department told the committee it could not elaborate further.

"I reached out to one of the supervisors of the FBI yesterday, and right now, they're still in their assessment phase," Dallas PD Deupty Chief Albert Martinez said.

The report listed 13 targeted recommendations to improve ITS processes and management control to guard against future incidents, including establishing a citywide data governance and data management program.

"How do we fix this? How do we move forward? Are these recommendations enough?" Dallas City Councilwoman Paula Blackmon asked.

Committee members voted to recommend to city council the hiring of an outside law firm to audit the data loss.

"Specifically, I'm going to want to know how the data was deleted," Mendelsohn said.

And made a statement to the public.

"To everyone who is suffering from this and the entire public, we do apologize," Dallas City Councilwoman Jaynie Schultz said.

The committee voted to recommend the hiring of the Kirkland Ellis Firm to do the audit.

The firm was one of three to pitch its plan to the committee.

The Dallas City Council will have the final say.


Dallas Police Department lost terabytes of data that could impact some ongoing cases

Dallas City Council grills city manager over Dallas PD data loss

Dallas mayor calls for investigation into data lost by Dallas Police Department