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Dallas data loss report reveals IT worker was not trained for the job

A photograph picturing the Dallas City Hall building in the background and a tree in the foreground.
Keren Carrión
Dallas City Hall

A new report about the City of Dallas' massive data loss says its deletion by a city technician appears to be accidental.

The Dallas IT worker was fired last year after deleting millions of important Dallas police files. The files included photos, videos, audio, notes and other evidence collected for police department cases. The city was able to recover roughly 3 terabytes of data the more than 23 terabytes that were deleted.

The report by the law firm Kirkland & Ellis found that the “technician failed to properly copy data from the existing cloud-based storage systems to the newly implemented City Hall servers.” And then the worker failed to check if copies of the data that was moved existed elsewhere. Because the data also was not properly copied after the transfer to the City Hall servers, it was no longer recoverable.

Dallas’ IT department previously said that loss data included more than 17,000 Dallas County District Attorney’s Office cases.

The IT employee didn't have enough training to do the job, according to the report. And his actions appeared “to have been based on his flawed understanding of the City’s backup and archiving platform.”

The report also found that there wasn’t “any evidence that the backup technician had malicious intent or criminal purpose in deleting the data.”

No one else was fired has been fired for the data loss. Dallas’ IT department released a report last year stating that the data loss was the result of poor management, supervision and an attempt to save money.

Dallas City Council members will discuss the report's findings and recommendations at a the Ad Hoc Committee on General Investigating and Ethics next Tuesday.

Read the full report:

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Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member for KERA News. Email Alejandra at You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.