The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 21, 2013

County IT staff trying to solve computer crash fallout

CLINTON — County Information Technology staff are working to allow local law enforcement access to information, following a server crash approximately three weeks ago.

Staff from the county jail, sheriff's office, communications department and the Clinton and Camanche police departments have had to go back to pen and paper since the server went down. Assistant Clinton County Jail Administrator Joe Steffen said all jail entries and data are being entered by hand. He added that everything is backlogged.

“But we will muster through,” Steffen said.

For Communications, the server issue has meant that telecommunicators have to walk to the file cabinet whenever asked to look up in-county warrants for officers. Communications Director Eric Dau said this also poses a problem if there is an event at a business during the night. Without the system, Dau and his staff cannot contact the key-holders.

“Anytime people don't have access to information in the computer, it's a challenge,” Clinton Police Chief Brian Guy said. "It's been a challenge for us for the last three weeks.”

Guy said something like this is always a possibility when relying on technology. He added that sometimes, hard drives fail.

“Sometimes despite our best efforts, these things happen,” Guy said.

Steffen said the county IT department is working "diligently" on the problem, but does not know when it will be back up. IT Director Betsy Smith said ever since the server crashed, she and her staff have been working to recover all of the data so law enforcement can access the information. They have just started transferring the information into a temporary location.

'I can't give you a firm date, but I'm hoping it's very soon,” Smith said.

She added that before they could start moving the data the goal was to get the server partially running. She expects the county will eventually purchase a new server, but is currently focused on getting the information available to law enforcement.

Guy and Steffen pointed out the after the system comes back, a lot of time will be spent on entering all of the information they have had to write.

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