Saturday, September 25, 2021

Broken records

Staff Reporter | September 14, 2021 7:00 AM

WALLACE — There are pros and cons to how reliant we have all become on technology, something that the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office can attest to.

It was recently discovered that a hardware failure led to the malfunction of two different hard drives that keep and stored much of the records for the SCSO.

According to Shoshone County Commissioner Mike Fitzgerald, the way the system had functioned was that there were two hard drives in use, one was used primarily for the record keeping and the other was essentially the mirror image of the primary one for emergency backup.

But after being looked at by the company, both were deemed unsalvageable.

This includes the various digitized copies of daily reports, some evidence, dispatch records for that may go back as far as the last two years.

Sheriff Mike Gunderson and his department have been left to basically pick up the pieces the best that they can — all the while running at a limited capacity.

“The severity of the situation is pretty great,” Gunderson said. “Everything we do is technology based anymore.”

According to Gunderson, who has a little more familiarity with the system and how it works, the way that the former system failed is uncommon.

“These records are kept on a series of drives,” Gunderson said. “If one of them goes out then it’s a small problem, but everything can be recovered. But two went out, which is incredibly rare and now we can recover very little of what was on them.”

The Shoshone Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has put the necessary steps in motion to rectify the situation, but it has left the SCSO in a position to run on what is basically a minimal capacity backup system that only allows a fraction of the technological productivity that they were operating at before.

One positive is that any completed case file in their possession was printed, so those are still viable, but there are several records that are either missing or incomplete which will require manpower to recomplete.

Basically, anything that can be re-entered, will need to be re-entered.

The BOCC has assigned Shoshone County’s legal team to look into the contracts with the company responsible for the hard drives, as well as looking into cost recovery.

A new system has been ordered, but according to Gunderson, due to high-demand parts and equipment, that system isn’t expected to be in place until October at the earliest.

For now, the SCSO will have to run on its backup system until that new system can be installed.

“It’s catastrophic in a lot of ways,” Gunderson said. “It’s going to take a lot of time.”

The residents of Shoshone County may need to be patient as this may affect various records requests.