Microsoft’s planned obsolescence of is Windows XP operating system in April will cost Conway about $132,000.
Most of this money, about $107,000, will be spent to update or replace almost every computer in the Conway Police Department building. This is because an end to support of Windows XP means an end to the periodic updates and tinkering that keeps the system safe from computer “viruses” and “hacking.”
State and federal rules that dictate access to Arkansas and U.S. crime and police database servers require something like a “clean bill of health” for any computer that’s plugged in, making the move away from Windows XP strictly necessary for every law enforcement organization in the country using it.
It had been estimated that the Conway would spend about $190,000 for the fix, but city IT Director Lloyd Hartzell was able to whittle this down by separating computers that absolutely needed to be plugged in to the city network from ones that didn’t.
The city’s budget for this fiscal year does not include any money for new capital improvements, like computer updates. This means “maybe the only option” to pay for the updates will be tapping reserve “rainy day” funds according to Jack Bell, city chief of staff.
Chief of Police A.J. Gary said that there is about $30,000 available for use now through CPD’s forfeiture fund bank account, which is made up of money seized and held as evidence, usually in drug arrests. If the case against the person or person ends in a finding of guilt, or if in a federal case part of a Defendant’s plea arrangement involves forfeiting the money, the law enforcement agency may use the money for limited purposes.
CPD can’t use the money to supplement or supplant general operating expenses, but it can use the money for one-time capital improvements like the computer updates.
Gary said that there is more money being held by CPD that may become available as the people it was seized from go through the criminal justice system.