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Sheriff's Department Hit by Computer Virus

The State | IN BRIEF / SAN DIEGO

August 31, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department was hit by a computer virus that forced jail workers to manually book prisoners Saturday and disconnected employees from the Internet and e-mail.

The virus, which struck early Friday, did not do any serious damage, said Lt. Don Crist. But jail workers could not operate the computer programs they usually use to fingerprint and book suspects, so they had to do the jobs manually, he said.

Several computer systems were disconnected from each other, as well as e-mail and the Internet, to prevent the spread of the virus. Authorities still had access to computer records on drivers' licenses, criminal records and other law enforcement information, Crist said.

Dispatchers were not able to send messages to police cars' computer monitors, but could still communicate over the airwaves. They sometimes send written messages when they believe a suspect may be monitoring the airwaves, Crist said.

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