Christian Testanier.

Faulty email software has halted the City of Arcata and the Arcata Police Department’s ability to send and receive emails for more than 24 hours, and almost destroyed a month’s worth of public information.

Arcata Information and Technology Manager Dillon Savage tells the Outpost that he likely rescued a month’s worth of email records after a sleepless night and a last-ditch effort with Microsoft tech support.

“There’s data corruption of a specific part of the Microsoft Exchange server that handles all of our emails and data retention for those services,” Savage said. “Overtime it had been causing errors to the storage of that data, and caused the server to go offline yesterday.”

Savage said he expected bugs after the city spent $25,000 upgrading its entire network infrastructure in August. However, this fix has proven to be especially difficult.

“As far as I am concerned, the update did work the way it was supposed to,” Savage said. “Just like any new hardware, there are bugs that happen and unfortunately this is one that’s not as kind as I was anticipating it would be.”

APD Chief Tom Chapman said the absence of email has slowed communication around the office, but shouldn’t affect law enforcement’s impact in the community. However, if the city were unable to recover the lost emails, it would raise concerns about the city’s legal obligation to maintain public records.

“I don’t think it would really be impactful in terms of law enforcement functions. We’ll be inconvenienced but it’s not devastating to anything in terms of crime and criminal cases,” Chapman said. “Emails are a public record that we have a duty and obligation to retain. In the technology age you do the best you can to be in compliance, but when something like this happens, what do you do?”

Savage said that as of 4 p.m., city employees officially regained access to their emails.

“It looks like we have found a path forward,” Savage said. “Looks like we’re not going to lose anything.”