Dispatcher fired, facing charges

Ex-employee allegedly used database to snoop on ex-husband, ex-boyfriend.
Emil Whitis
May 14, 2013

Another Erie County dispatcher is facing criminal charges. 

On Monday deputies arrested Tracy Smith, 42, of Wakeman, charging her with unauthorized use of a computer, a fifth-degree felony. 

Smith allegedly used a statewide police database to gather information on her ex-boyfriend, ex-husband and various neighbors. She also looked up several Sandusky police officers and Erie County inmates, according to an Erie County deputy’s report. 

Much of that snooping was done from her home computer, Erie County Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said. 

The database Smith used is called the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, or OHLEG. It’s a type of restricted search engine that combines information from several state databases, including LEADS and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Using OHLEG, dispatchers and officers can search any name for addresses, warrants, criminal history and registered vehicles. 

Users can even pull up a mugshot to match a searched name. 

OHLEG can only be used for criminal investigations. Smith broke that rule, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said. 

Deputies opened a criminal investigation into Smith’s dabblings May 2. By that time, Sigsworth had already fired Smith, a probationary employee, based on the alleged improprieties. 

Deputies drove out to her South Street home for an interview. 

“Smith explained that she did not think she was doing anything wrong as she was not getting personal information on others to use for her personal gain or with malicious intent,” a deputy’s report said. 

She then admitted to “checking up” on a former boyfriend and her ex-husband.

She told deputies she was angry at her ex-husband for not paying child support, so she searched for his home address and the status of his driver’s license. 

She then told deputies how she searched for all houses within a 400-foot radius of her house. 

“She explained that she wanted to see photos of those who lived around her so she could recognize them,” the report said.

“She also wanted to find out if there were criminal issues involving her neighbors.” 

And then, there were the Sandusky police officers. 

“Smith stated that she had ran several of the officers from the Sandusky Police Department as she did not know many of the officers and was only trying to put a face to their name,” the report said. “Smith denied trying to obtain any information on family members of any law enforcement officers.” 

Sigsworth called Smith’s actions a “breach of trust.” 

“She was dealt with quickly after we learned what she’d done,” Sigsworth said. “Her activities are not reflective of the other dispatchers we have employed at the sheriff’s office. It’s disappointing.” 

Smith bonded out of the Erie County jail on her own recognizance.

Comments

rjk1915

"Had ran - " ?

SoldOnAcorns

Ms. Smith did you drink a big ol' glass of stupid everyday before work ? Nosey arse !

margaritaville88

Yeah, and I think they make a certain fishing rod named for her too !! LMAO

SoldOnAcorns

The PertyStick ? Haha ! :D

Mrs. Jones

Go figure another Erie County Sheriff's Department employee. Maybe when they go to hire they should actually consider other individuals and or atleast give them a chance to tell you who they are...Everytime I turn on the radio or tv its something about ECSO. Make me proud they never hired me after all this mess. I must be that much better.

SurroundedByMorons

WARNING: Above comment filled with a subjectively biased opinion with a large helping of bitterness and a side of shame.

rippedhippy1

I would say it's like telling a little kid there is a room full of candy behind a locked door, and hanging the key on the door knob. But then, you can't EXPECT a little kid to know any better.

SurroundedByMorons

It's called discipline, I can only imagine that you are quite the enabler for your children.

rippedhippy1

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

YAWWNN

I was thinking the same thing...surrounded by him/herself.

chefcap69

And once again, "The" Erie County shows its ugly face!! It's not just Sandusky County People!!!!! Lay Off!!!

sandtown born a...

Yeah lay off the SC officials they are busy botching another investigation or digging up someones child for the fact that they can. Yeah they need to be laid off of. law enforcement has issues no matter what county, we need to hold them accountable for the actions they choose.

Julie R.

Personally, I really can't see why this would be considered criminal.

Sam

When you are trained on these systems your are told repeatedly that any usage for non criminal justice purposes is a reason for dismissal and criminal charges of unlawful use of the system. Isn't surprising you don't understand I am sure you can link it to your ongoing crusade.....

Julie R.

Big deal. It's not like what she did was a threat to society or anything. (like your Erie County public officials are well-known for)

YAWWNN

I would say using LEADS to stalk your ex-husband and ex-boyfriend indicates criminal behavior.

Sam

It was only a matter of time before you linked your fantasy, and it is serious it accessing personal information that can be used for a number if illegal acts.....

Julie R.

What made you come out of the woodwork, Sam? Haven't seen you make any comments in ages. As per usual, the only comments you seem to be following are mine. (chuckle-chuckle)

Unassumer

This happened in PC once. Guy got fired too. You can't use the system for your personal agendas.

wedge1

Guess this is why she has "ex-husband" and "ex-boyfriend". She can't stay out of other people's business. Snoop coppy cop.
So did she get arrested in her underwear or something? What's up with the hot pink spaghetti straps in the mugshot?

Firelandsobserver

If it was illegal for her to access to this information, then why did she have access to this information?

richrs

It isn't/wasn't illegal for her to access this information for her job as a dispatcher. But for her own use...

KURTje

This is what gives L.E. a bad name. Shame on you smith.

There you go again

Didn't a former police chief or officer do this same thing several years ago? What happened to him? How do people think they won't get caught checking this info on a computer?!?!

LadyC

I could see it being grounds for firing, but criminal charges?

YAWWNN

You can see it however you want but the fact is, it is a felony in Ohio to access this system for anything other than law enforcement purposes. Dispatchers are informed of this at the beginning of their orientation and are required to sign documentation attesting to the fact that it is illegal and that their useage of the system is monitored. Trust me, it's not like she didn't know what she was doing was illegal. She just thought that she wouldn't get caught. She made a major mistake by logging in from her home computer.