'Catastrophic data loss' affects thousands of Hamilton County Sheriff's Office dashcam videos

The sheriff's office data storage servers are shown in this undated photo. / Photo by Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

A "catastrophic data loss" caused thousands of Hamilton County Sheriff's Office videos from dashboard cameras to disappear - and potentially could jeopardize criminal and civil cases.

All dash camera footage for all 130 patrol deputies between Oct. 25, 2018, and Jan. 23 of this year was lost after a software failure on Jan. 13, according to a letter hand-delivered to the District Attorney's Office this week. The footage could not be recovered, as that was the only server used to store the videos.

Any video requests fulfilled before Jan. 13 have been preserved because the videos were downloaded and released to the requester, Sheriff Jim Hammond said. But any new requests for videos between the affected time frame will not be fulfilled.

Typically, dash camera videos are stored for two years, and jail videos, which were not affected, are kept for about 45 days, said Ron Bernard, director of information systems for the sheriff's office.