Programmer Tim Clemans Resigns from Police Department After a Challenging Six Months


That guy messed around with the 911 system without approval? Ummm isn't that like potentially a felony? I mean if the 911 system goes down or maybe there is a bug in his app that causes a heart attack to be ignored....couldn't that be a potential criminal charge? So if this award winning programmer didn't realize that he's too irresponsible for public service.
This is surprising turn of events. Programmers are usually noted for their soft skills.
@Harold my software ran on a unused computer terminal and pulled from the reporting database. It alerts the Chief Dispatcher to messages with keywords the dispatcher puts in. It was used by the Chief Dispatchers to help ensure they need about the stuff they needed to know about.The final version was highly optimized. One employee wrote to me "I did want to let you know that folks from the RTCC came to see me this morning. They wanted to express their sincere appreciation for the CAD remarks app; they said it was the only thing that was consistently working for them this weekend - even when the Versaterm app itself was having issues. Your app allowed them to stay on top of things that were going on as they were happening. I credit you & your focus on stabilizing the application for that. Great work."

Another app I made, again operated entirely separately on a different machine, showed a 911 caller's call and dispatch histories. One call taker who immediately saw the importance of it suggested that I highlight domestic violence dispatches so she would know that a suspect could be right next to the caller. The call history app is especially important because when there are ten+ calls in the queue 30+ seconds wasted on trying to a find a caller's previous call to update it means other potential emergencies could take 30+ seconds to get to.

The dude sounds like he just lacked the social skills need to get along with people. If you really want to change the culture at spd you have to be patient and win people over. Threatening them with pdrs is no way to win friends and co op them.
My initial reaction, naive as it might be, is "Can this relationship be saved?"

Sounds like Clemens has done some _great_ work and it would be a shame for the SPD (and us) to lose his talent.

Is there some way to make peace, so that internal politics and interpersonal relations can be put aside for the greater good? Not pointing fingers at anyone -- I'm simply greedy to have a better SPD.
As to @4, is that really necessary?

This is SPD we're talking about - based on recent events it would appear that almost NOBODY who works there has much in the way of social skills.

This is SLOG; not only is it necessary, it's practically obligatory...
Just let him live his life out peacefully in the Shire

I think he may have spent just a little too much time with the One Ring to be accepted in polite Hobbit society.
@3 I think you're doing great work and I suspect if you were to set up a site detailing the nuts and bolts of what you are doing and some github projects you'd get some enthusiastic help from your fellow nerds. Keep it up.
The only thing to do is set up your own company and sell the same apps you would have developed to SPD and other departments across the country for 1000X what they'd have paid you if you'd have stayed on the payroll; getting them to overpay for something seems to be the only way to get their respect.
@5: My thoughts exactly.
@3, it doesn't matter how good your stuff is, if the people who are responsible don't understand it or don't buy off on it, it's no good. If something goes wrong the buck stops with them, not with you. Durh. Just schedule a couple of meetings to explain, be nice, seek to form consensus, and document it a bit (use a contract technical writer!). Establish some trust and you will get much further. Be transparent! This is a life lesson for you: If you stop acting like a precious prima donna, not because you have to but BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT WILL WORK BETTER, you'll get much further and be far, far more effective in the long run.
In rigid, top heavy bureaucracies, innovative ideas must become the ideas of those in control in order to be implemented. Unfortunately, this can take years, or even decades at which point such ideas are no longer innovative.
@timclemans I don't think is matters how good your program is or how well it works. Anytime you have any system which can potentially affect human life there is a moral, ethical, and legal standard that the system must be shown to meet. Usually that means someone else evaluates your work. Those people are usually an expert or a higher level administrator who is responsible implementing the system . One (arguable) example is the FDA approving a drug. The protocols the 911 dispatchers follow is just as much part of the 911 system as the physical hardware and the software that they utilize. If you didn't test, document and get approval for the changes you made to the protocols and the software in the 911 system before you implemented your changes, you were introducing a potential unknown to the system. Even if your changes were stellar it doesn't matter. When the potential for harming another person is present the status quo is often the best choice because it's well understood how the system will fail (in this case the dispatchers told you). When you change the system, you have potentially introduced new ways for the system to fail which are unpredictable regardless of whether or not your change improves the system.
This guy created some amazing tools for a police department and was apparently driven out by self-serving "untouchable" public union bureaucrats.

This is a great example of why we need to look beyond government as a way to organize our communities.

No one should be "untouchable" from the consequences of their actions. When that's the case, they don't need to do a good job (at best), or real crimes go unpunished.

That's really not the type of organization we want handling the vital service of security.