A growing problem with information storage for the Pratt County Attorney is about to start getting smaller.

The county attorney's office generates a great deal of paper work that, by law, has to be retained for at least five years, said Pratt County Attorney Ken Van Blaricum at the latest Pratt County Commission meeting.

Although the county attorney's office has good technology, it has very limited storage space so many boxes of files, about 55, are stored in the basement of the Law Enforcement Center.

"We generate lots of papers and files and we have not place to put them," Van Blaricum said. "The problem is in the bulk."

To help alleviate the problem, the Commissioners approved a new computer program "Full Case" that will make it possible to create digital images of files. Those files could be stored on computers and help alleviate the growing file pile in the LEC.

"This would lets us get rid of the boxes across the way," Van Blaricum said.

Getting the files on a computer system will improve the speed that files can be recovered, reduce the storage problem in the basement of the LEC and create more space in the county attorney's office.

Although the files can be destroyed after five years, it would be convenient to still have access to those files if someone got back into the system.

The LEC basement also has some moisture issues although it is dry most of the time, Van Blaricum said.

The digital files would be interactive with the courts files and that would increase efficiency as well.

The program carries a one-time fee of $8,700 plus a $681 annual maintenance fee. Funding for the new program would come out of the forfeiture fund or possibly the diversion fund.

While the County Commissioners were able to solve a storage issue for the county attorney, they, like every county in the state but one, took the six-month exemption option to determine the best way to deal with making public buildings secure to meet state mandates.

County Counselor Bob Schmisseur said they have six months to determine their strategy and put it into action for the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline.

Schmisseur proposed a committee to work out the details with a deadline of submitting the recommendation to the Commissioners on Monday, Nov. 4.

While the committee considers options, Schmisseur said he would like to see an intruder drill to help be prepared in case something does happen.

Pratt County Sheriff Vernon Chinn said he wants to move ahead with making the courthouse secure because a day is coming when that security will be needed.

Getting every county building secure is an expensive proposition. With 13 or 14 buildings it would take a lot of officers or equipment to be compliant.

"How do you do them all," Chinn said.

Not even the Law Enforcement Center is completely secure so much is at stake with this issue.