LEADS stands for Law Enforcement Automated Data System, and agencies use it to access data about individual’s traffic and criminal history, at the local, state and federal levels.
Fremont police supervisors started investigating the case about a month ago, after a dispatcher reported suspicions to superiors that Williams had improperly accessed LEADS to search a person’s information, police Chief Tim Wiersma said.
When police finished their part of a criminal and an internal investigation, they sent the case to Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt for consideration.
A grand jury secretly indicted Williams days after safety service director Robert Ward placed him on administrative leave with pay. After the charge was filed with the court, Ward placed Williams on unpaid leave Nov. 26.
Bill Kaiser, investigator for the prosecutor’s office, is still working on the case. The alleged misuse of LEADS appears to be only part of a larger scope of alleged misconduct, Wiersma said, declining to elaborate further, citing the open investigation.
As far as investigators could tell, the LEADS violation was limited to one instance. “We checked into his use a month prior to that, and there was nothing else that stood out as a blatant violation,” Wiersma said.
Though Wiersma declined to say whose information Williams was searching or if Williams knew him or her, he did say they weren’t from Fremont or Toledo — where Williams lives. Investigators tried to contact the person but were unsuccessful.
While the felony charge may be a mark on the department, Wiersma said the matter is being handled appropriately. “We did monitor ourselves, and we’re doing everything to keep the public’s trust, going through the proper channels,” Wiersma said. “And we hope this is resolved quickly.”
Documents from Williams’ personnel file show he’s been disciplined for minor infractions in his tenure with the department, twice this year for being late and once for failing to properly secure his duty weapon when it was stolen from his home in January 2012.
Cleveland police recovered the .40-caliber Glock 22 in July 2013 during a traffic stop, when a vehicle passenger told police he purchased it off the street for $100.
Other documents from Williams’ personnel file show he had financial issues earlier this year, when city personnel received a request from a debt collector for his wages to be garnished.
It was the third such request the city received but was unable to contribute to out of his paycheck because the city was already deducting the maximum amount for his child support payments.
Per city policy, officers may be disciplined for requested garnishments if they have not demonstrated a willingness or effort to resolve financial problems, according to documents in Williams’ file. But Williams showed supervisors letters that showed he attempted to negotiate payment plans on all three debts and had made payments on some. Williams’ criminal case is set for a pretrial on April 3.
Any further decisions to his employment status with the city of Fremont will be up to Ward.