October 1, 2006
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Police officers might be forced to dig out their
notes and re-create parts of a week's worth or more of reports on
crime and traffic crashes after the department's computer system
The worst-case scenario is that the narrative portions of as many as
6,000 records may be missing, said Barbara Wright, executive director
of planning and technology for the department.
"We told their commanders we'd know on Monday what information has to
be retyped," she said. "It looks like the only thing that won't be
there when we restore it will be about a week's worth of reports. And
the only part that has to be re-created are their little paragraphs."
Officials are investigating whether the firing earlier this month of a
network administrator had anything to do with the computer crash.
The worker, whose girlfriend had reportedly been arrested on drug
charges, lost his job after an investigation revealed he had
inappropriately used his access to look at information he had no
Wright said she believes the firing and the computer problems are a
"The rumor is he entered something or erased records, but he didn't.
He had no ability to do that," she said.
Still, all the system's hard drives have been turned over to the
police fraud unit that handles cybercrimes to make sure the worker had
no role in the crash.
Wright suspected that the cause of the crash was that information was
stored on a three-year old server that was scheduled for replacement.
The new hardware was in the same room as the old server at the time of
the crash. But there had not yet been time to transfer the data.
Besides the summaries of what happened, the reports also include such
details as the address where a crime occurs and the reporting party.
"We fully expect to recover more than 99 percent of the information
that was stored in the system," she said.
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