- Your address, telephone number, Social Security number,
date of birth, criminal record -- all this information and more can be
accessed by cops if they have basic information about you. Not surprisingly,
some cops abuse their privilege and use their database access for less-than-honorable
reasons. This week on "CyberCrime" we show you how some corrupt
cops used police databases to harass exes, get telephone numbers of pretty
girls they see in cars, and even plan murders!
- These abuses happen in law enforcement departments around
the world. With the help of CopWatch.com and the Detroit Free Press, we've
collected 10 stories where corrupt cops have used databases for less-than-honorable
reasons in police departments in Michigan, California, Ohio, and even as
far away as Australia.
- Some groups say that these cases represent a small percentage
of the actual number of abuses. Indeed, how many cops do you think are
willing to rat out their colleagues when they commit these abuses? Who's
supposed to police the police?
- Cop Suspected of Using Database to Plan Murder of
- A State Police detective whose estranged wife was shot
dead at a Michigan zoo admitted using the Law Enforcement Information Network
(LEIN) to check on his wife and her acquaintances, according to Lansing
police search warrant requests. Although the detective is not suspected
of pulling the trigger, the Lansing, Michigan, police department says it
believes he knows who shot his wife a month after she filed for divorce.
Read the full story.
- Rookie Cop Checks on 'Potential Girlfriends':
6,900 Database Searches in Only Two Months
- An Australian constable new to the beat used the police
database to check on potential girlfriends. In just over two months the
then 20-year-old policeman performed an unprecedented 6,900 searches on
the police database. The counsel assisting the case says that of those
6,900 searches at least 300 weren't connected to official duties. Read
the full news story.
- FBI Files Sold to Mob and International Criminals
Nevada Attorney General's Office Employee and Former FBI Agent
- Dubbed the "Secrets for Sale Scandal" by the
Las Vegas media, an attorney general's office worker and a former FBI agent
were caught selling information from the FBI NCIC database to organized
crime syndicates and other criminals for more than $100,000.
- The office worker and the former agent sold documents
containing classified information about organized crime investigations,
white collar crime investigations, and investigations involving international
alien smuggling. These documents were sold to members of organized crime
syndicates in New York and to an FBI informant. One defendant's phone records
also shows that he had communications with people in Mexico and Cuba and
his passport listed recent visits to the drug cartel cities of Medellin
and Bogota, Colombia.
- The former agent worked for the Las Vegas FBI for several
years and had access to national security and electronic surveillance information
as well as data on confidential informants and witnesses stored in the
FBI's nationwide computer system. Read the story.
- Indiana PD Banned From FBI Database
- The Highland, Indiana, police department had its access
to the state's FBI database suspended due to misuse. The revocation of
Highland's access to the Indiana Data and Communications System (IDACS),
the state's portal into the National Crime Information Center, is believed
to be the first such suspension in at least a decade. State police auditors
claim that local investigators had been using the system to run checks
on contractors and door-to-door solicitors in direct violation of IDACS
policy, and continued to do so even after being warned. Read the story.
- Political Candidates Probed by Police Chief
- The city attorney in Eastpointe, Michigan, is looking
into allegations that the police chief and city manager violated state
law by using the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) to check the
backgrounds of candidates for an ethics committee. The mayor ordered the
investigation after it was revealed that the city manager and police chief
may have violated state regulations governing LEIN use by checking backgrounds
of eight people considered for a volunteer committee created by the city
council. Many people were surprised to find that first-time misuse of the
LEIN is not a crime. Read the full story.
- Police Investigated for Using Database to
Target Organizers of Sheriff-Recall Campaign
- Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall investigated a
county sheriff department after receiving a complaint that the department
did criminal background checks on two organizers of a petition attempting
to recall the sheriff. Read the full news story.
- Prosecutor's Office Uses Database to Smear Prosecutor's
- The Butler County Republican Party has asked the county
commissioners to investigate allegations that an employee in the prosecutor's
office misused a state database to obtain information about his boss's
political opponent. Read the full news story.
- Police Lieutenant Charged With Abusing Database to
- In Maryland, a Charles County sheriff's lieutenant faces
criminal charges for misusing the sheriff's computer system on behalf of
local Democrats connected with elections. He is charged by sheriff's officials
with 102 violations of departmental rules relating to the abuse, according
to court documents filed in Charles County Circuit Court. Read the full
- Cop Uses Database to Find Woman's Unlisted Phone Number
Gives It to Woman's Ex
- A Brisbane, Australia, police officer admitted to giving
a local businessman the personal details of his ex-girlfriend. The investigator
told the court how the woman, whose name has been suppressed, complained
earlier that an ex-boyfriend had called her unlisted home phone number.
The senior police constable admitted to providing the woman's personal
details. Despite twice denying in previous CJC interviews to handing over
the silent number, Constable Crawford changed his evidence.
- Cop Fired for Abusing Database, Chief Accused as Well
- The town of Atherton, California, has ruled that a former
police officer should not get his job back after alleged misuse of the
California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS). He is also
accused of violating a restraining order and destroying personal property
in a case involving his ex-girlfriend, and reportedly using the database
to find information about her. The CLETS system, administered by the California
Department of Justice, is a database containing information ranging from
driving records to criminal records. Following the firing, the officer
accused Atherton's police chief of also misusing the CLETS system.