Potter County officials’ computers remain dark after viruses hit

Potter County officials say they’re figuring out ways to work through the dark, as they go another day without computer usage.
Updated: Apr. 22, 2019 at 8:14 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Potter County officials say they’re figuring out ways to work through the dark, as they go another day without computer usage.

When Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner came into work on Friday and attempted to log into her email, she was met with an exclamation mark on it. She says she knew right away something was not right.

“We had two viruses that hit the county. They are working on it now, we’ve called in some extra people to help,” said Judge Tanner. “We’re going to work on that and hopefully get it up by the end of the week.”

The over 550 employees in Potter County offices are not allowed to turn on their computer as computer experts work to figure out what has caused this issue across all departments.

“It affects the county attorney’s office. I don’t know if they had arraignments today. I don’t know if they’re going to have trials this week,” said Judge Tanner. “There’s just no way you can proceed with your job .I’ve got mental health cases tomorrow. I’m going to have to hand write them and go out to the pavilion and see what happens.”

Marriage licenses and hearings for probate or guardianship are all done online.

For now, that’s at a standstill.

“We thought we were prepared,” said Judge Tanner. “Obviously, we were not. That is an eye opener and we have to fix that, for sure.”

The Potter County Sheriff’s Office is also offline, affecting everything they do, from calls to bookings in the jail.

“This is what we’re using now. Paper and pencil, we’re going old fashion around here,” said Sheriff Brian Thomas, of the Potter County Sheriff’s Office. “Seriously, that’s what we’re having to do. All of our calls that we’re taking and all of our reports that we’re doing we’re having to do by paper and pencil,” said Sheriff Thomas.

Early voting is still happening as planned as election administrators say election equipment is never connected to the Internet, and therefore, not affected. Still, the elections office enacted an emergency protocol.

“We moved our programs to tablets and then we activated a Verizon WiFi so we are currently operating completely separate from Potter County,” said Melynn Huntley, Potter County Elections Administrator.

Due to this issue, until further notice the Potter County District’s Clerk Office will have limited hours, from 7:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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