A notepad and pencil became the tech item of choice for dispatchers at the Pratt Law Enforcement Center for a couple of days this week after a computer virus attacked their system.
The Crypto Locker virus found its way into several files and turned them into gibberish they couldn't read, said Lyda Kasselman, Pratt Police Community Service officer.
While some of the files are unreadable to the LEC staff, no personal information has gone out of the system.
"There is no threat of information getting out. Nothing has been compromised, Kasselman said. "It's just a major inconvenience for us."
The problem first showed up Wednesday morning when an officer called for a wrecker. The LEC has a list of available wreckers and they are called out in a rotation order.
When the dispatcher went to check the list, it was unreadable, Kasselman said.
A check soon revealed that other files had been corrupted in the same manner. A phone number list and the controlled burn logs were among the files the virus had attacked.
Besides making files unreadable, the virus has caused a disruption with their computer connection with Topeka and state files.
The state criminal justice system has security rules about connections with computers that have a virus. When the LEC notified the state that they had a virus, the state took them off-line.
Officers had to get license checks or other records from Topeka by calling Kingman dispatch and they would run the request and relay the information to Pratt, Kasselman said.
All calls were recorded in a notebook and will have to be entered, by hand, into the system.
When the problem was discovered, an effort began immediately to debug the system. It took a couple of days but it looked like the virus had been purged Friday morning.
However, the state had not cleared the system to go back on-line with their computer system so dispatchers still had to enter information in the notebook for later entry.
The Pratt LEC computer system has a backup system so none of the information was lost.
Dispatchers are anxious for things to get back to normal so they can get information to officers in a timely manner and all the files are readable again.