The ink wasn't dry on a contract for new software for the Gila County Sheriff's Department when the department's mainframe crashed in Globe, seizing the information within its fried circuits.
Chief Deputy Byron Mills said his department's computer crashed earlier this month, affecting network computers all over the county. The computer failure, he said, has slowed normal functions, such as writing reports, updating jail records, and the day-to-day dispatch logs.
"Everyone is having to hand-write their logs, rather than type them in," Mills said. "Everything here has reverted back to 1988 before the county had computers."
Mills said the new software purchase was not prompted by worries over the Y2K bug, but rather to make the department more compatible with other systems around the state.
"We could have updated our current system to make it more compatible," he said, "but we were looking for something that was less bulky, less difficult for our operators."
The old mainframe has been shipped off to a company in Utah, Mills said, and he said all of its data will likely be recovered.
"In the meantime, everybody has had to go back to the old-fashioned way of doing their reports"It's the microwave age. What used to take us three minutes, now takes us 10. Those people that complained when they first had to get used to computers, are now complaining about not having them."
The chief deputy said the computer crash hasn't affected any of the department's investigations, nor has it affected public safety.
"We're just having to re-prioritize what gets done first," he said. "Certainly, any case that comes in that's a felony, or the county attorney's waiting on -- those are pushed right to the top."
The county's new system --hardware and software -- should be installed and fully operational by the first of the year, he said.