Report: Indicted officer did friend a favor

Fremont cop indicted for allegedly misusing data system.
Jessica Cuffman
Dec 20, 2013
A suspended Fremont police officer facing a felony charge for improperly using a data system told investigators he was doing a friend a favor, according to police reports.

Donnale Williams, 40, of Toledo, told investigators he ran the information for his best friend of 32 years, so his friend could find out where the mother of his children lived and take her to court. Williams was indicted last month on the unauthorized use of LEADS charge, a felony, and pleaded not guilty in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court last week.

Police supervisors learned of the allegation when a dispatcher, who had run the information at Williams’ request, reported her suspicions.

In October, Williams told the dispatcher he wanted to check on a Social Security number, along with a computerized criminal history for a court case.

When the dispatcher asked Williams for the court case number, he told her he was working on it. Because the police station’s in-house computer wasn’t working at the time, she thought that was why he wasn’t able to get the case number, according to a police report.

Later, when the computer was back up, the dispatcher searched for the woman’s court case, but couldn’t find any record that Fremont police had contact with her.

The dispatcher ran one search but not a second, more advanced one. Williams told her again it was for a court case.

When investigators spoke to Williams about the issue, he admitted he improperly made the request.

“Williams stated that he came in and asked to run a Social and a CCH like an idiot for a friend and that was it,” according to the report.

He denied he had told the dispatcher it was for court, but said she did ask him for a case number.

Use of LEADs, the Law Enforcement Automated Data System, is highly restricted. It’s supposed to be used for official reasons only.

The searches reveal an individual’s traffic and criminal history at the local, state and federal levels.

Such a violation is a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison.

When Fremont investigators looked at Williams’ use of the system in the past year, they found he also ran his own information six times, a use that’s also restricted.

“Officer Williams stated he did not think running himself through LEADS was a violation, since it was his own information he was running,” the report said. “He stated (he) can’t harass himself by running it”

Comments

Julie R.

Public officials, more than including judges and prosecutors, do favors for their friends all the time ~ and criminal favors at that ~ so why is it that those very serious threat to society morons never get indicted?

Texx Reloader

Misusing LEADS is a serious offence and problem. Most of this "discipline" is driven by fear of future litigation against the department from people who may be negatively affected by such malfeasance. However, you are correct Julie is stating rules are enforced selectively. You have more protection if you are part of the "group," than if you are not. A case can be quickly built against most any officer you desire, if one has the proper motivation. There would need to be a great deal of research into the entire personnel records to detect such a problem, and those who investigate are very short-handed, and can only give proper time to the most extreme cases of abuse of authority. They know it, the "group" knows it, therefore the "purges" continue unabated. It is shortsighted as it will eventual destroy the morale of any organization.