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Bumpy Phoenix Records System Overhaul Partly To Blame For Low Towing Revenues

Phoenix Police Department
(Photo by Alexandra Olgin - KJZZ)

Overhauling the police department’s nearly 30-year old records management system with a $30-million digital upgrade hasn’t been a smooth process. It launched several months late and reportedly experienced an outage.

“The city council has been pretty concerned because implementation has been bumpy and ineffective," Councilmember Kate Gallego told KJZZ News.

At this Wednesday's public safety subcommittee meeting, Gallego wasn’t pleased to hear the system is also contributing to fewer towing fees.

“Whereas they were used to completing handwritten forms, they are now required to use electronic forms and their printers may malfunction, they may not know how to complete it correctly," city staffer Jessica Rothschild told council members.

In fiscal year 2014-2015, Phoenix collected $2,707,926 in towing revenue. During the first eight months of this fiscal year, Phoenix has only collected $1,416,445.   

“If there are abandoned vehicles where we could be maximizing revenue for taxpayer and we’re not doing so because of problems with the form, it’s a priority to fix that quickly," said Gallego.

Police Chief Joe Yahner told the group they have been re-training 2,700 officers, not only on how to fill out towing forms, but how to use the whole system.

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.