Fremont police officer indicted

An ongoing investigation into actions of an on-duty Fremont police officer has led a grand jury to indict him on one felony charge.
Jessica Cuffman
Dec 18, 2013
Donnale Williams, 40, of Toledo, pleaded not guilty in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court Friday to a single charge of unauthorized use of LEADS, according to court records.

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.

Comments

mikeylikesit

"to keep the public's trust".. is this man delusional?

Seacher

Yes, they found an internal problem with 'one or their own' and took the proper channels of investigation. It makes me feel better and not sure how many other precincts this would of went the same way without the media getting ahold of it first. Kudos to the department in this case.

White Owl

Interesting...Fremont police in Sandusky County zealously pursued this case, (black officer) but could not find any criminal violations of civil rights or misconduct in the Sandusky County Sheriff's office and jail incidents involving the death of an inmate and the sexual abuse of another when white officers were involved.

whattheBucks

Come on white owl, right away we pull out the race card, something I could understand from black owl, but not you white owl, unless you got proof of THIS case being about race, let's put that card back in your back furry pocket and focus on the facts, if the officer did something wrong, let it be that he did something wrong, and deserves to be punished accordingly, with you it always seems to be about who who ...who

White Owl

Actually my pockets are feather/down lined.

whattheBucks

Daaaaaaaang ! Who who who DAT ??

whattheBucks

Double double post post. Sorry

JudgeMeNot

Bad cop, no donut.

Julie R.

LIKE. (in reference to White Owl's comment on 12/18/2013 at 2:04 p.m.)

Centauri

Looks like selective prosecution to me.

http://www.presspublications.com...
"Officials deny Oregon Police Officer Jeff Brown, son of Mayor Marge Brown, received lenient treatment for his repeated and illegal use of the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) to gain information about an ex-girlfriend over a two-year period."

Julie R.

Selective prosecution is right on. Had this been a white cop, it would have been swept under the proverbial rug ...... and we all know it.

deertracker

Agreed!

Julie R.

This sort of reminds me of the two corrupt judges in Cuyahoga County that the FEDS got. The white female judge only got 2 years and didn't even have to serve that, plus she is now trying to get her law license back --- and we all know she'll get it. She'll probably even run for judge again and get elected! On the other hand, the black judge was given 5 years with no early release and what he did wasn't even half as bad as the worthless corrupt female judge, Bridgett McCafferty. In addition, Frank Russo admitted that there were EIGHT to TEN other judges in Cuyahoga County that also "fixed" cases for them, but we never heard another word about it. You can bet the other eight or ten were all WHITE, too.