Detroit’s Police Department has spent more than $18.5 million since 2001 on an in-car camera system so ineffective that the top brass this spring told the Justice Department they should “tear it out at the roots in order to start from scratch,” the Detroit News reports. The total cost could be higher. Police can’t find all invoices for the mishmash of cameras and computers that are plagued with image and audio problems. They work less than 17 percent of the time.
Police Chief Warren Evans plans to announce improvements today to the system that a federal report said was so bad “its most common use today is a platform to play solitaire.” Two years ago, the city tried to solve the problem by buying equipment that was already obsolete. In May, police brass suggested fixing the cameras by using Velcro, briefcases, and cigarette lighters to jury-rig incompatible hardware to squad cars.