Dallas County commissioners could finally nix costly TechShare program

It may be the beginning of the end for a costly Dallas County project known as TechShare.

In an effort to save money, Dallas County tried to develop its own software with the intent of then selling to other counties.

However, seven years and tens of millions of dollars later, there is no working software for the Dallas County jail or courts.

FOX 4 first told you about the massive and costly delays with Dallas County trying its hand in the software business three years ago.  Dallas County commissioners may finally call it quits, even if it means admitting $30 million went down the drain.

Since commissioner J.J. Koch took office in January, he's been working to stop Dallas County from investing in what he sees as a sinking ship.

The county voted on Tuesday to no longer blindly approve TechShare's maintenance and operation expenses.  Two weeks ago, commissioners decided to not sink another $600,000 tax dollars into the software project.

The long-running software project has rolled out in phases with platforms for juvenile courts and for prosecutors. A third system for indigent defense is ready to launch.

Commissioner Theresa Daniel, who's on the TechShare board, is fighting for the next phase for the jail software.

“We have successful programs working well. Juvenile, prosecutor, jails is right there. Indigent defense is ready to kick off also,” Daniel said. “They're working. Users are very satisfied.”

The county already voted in October to take a more traditional route by soliciting bids from private companies for courts software. No one is disputing that the software itself needs to be updated.

Judges more than a year ago talked about how difficult it was to operate with an archaic system.

Koch insists if the county hadn't gone into the software business to begin with, a solution would have been reached long ago.

“This was a mistake from the get go,” he said. “Organization has perverse incentive to pursue profit while being able to back stop with taxpayer dollars.”

A third party will review the bids for the court program and present them to commissioners in January. Commissioners are expected to decide whether to take bids for the jail software next month.