"The State Highway Patrol, which administers the Law Enforcement Automated Data System in Ohio, asked Toledo police to explain why it pulled BMV information on Wurzelbacher within 48 hours of the debate, Hunter said.
The LEADS system also can be used to check for warrants and criminal histories, but such checks would not be reflected on the records obtained by The Dispatch.
Sgt. Tim Campbell, a Toledo police spokesman, said he could not provide any information because the department only had learned of the State Highway Patrol inquiry today."
As the former Clerk of Toledo Municipal Court I was responsible for my office and employees' access of the LEADS (Law Enforcement Automated Data System) program. I was also a certified user. I can tell you that the restrictions on when and how it is used are limited and specific - and using it in an illegal manner is not only a criminal offense, it can result in an entire agency losing access to the system.
LEADS gives users access to multiple sources of data. It's used by law enforcement, courts and prosecutors across the state to inquire on information about driving records, vehicle ownership and outstanding warrants. Through the LEADS connections to other agencies, users can review drivers license images, past criminal histories or parole status. LEADS also serves as the gateway to the National Crime Information Center, (NCIC). Through NCIC, LEADS users have access to the same information on a national and international level.
Individuals having access to LEADS have to take a periodic test - the first question of which was always about proper use of the system. From the LEADS manual:
Data accessed through LEADS, NCIC, NLETS and other intra-state systems is restricted to the use of duly authorized law enforcement and/or criminal justice agencies and is not to be sold, transmitted or disseminated to any non-law enforcement agency, non-criminal justice agency or unauthorized person. Participating agencies have assumed responsibility for system security and integrity when they execute the LEADS participation agreement (LEADS Administrative Rule 4501:2-10-13).
Audit trails of all activity through the system are maintained for six years. Those audit trails are extremely detailed and identify the agency, the actual computer terminal, the user, the date/time, and the specific activity. While checks on warrants and criminal histories were not part of the public record available to The Dispatch, such activity was captured and included in the audit - and is known to the State Highway Patrol, who oversee the system, and to the Toledo Police Department now that's they've been made aware of the query.
The identify of the person who accessed the data is known and whoever it is should be held accountable. Additionally, I expect TPD will also want to know with whom the information was shared and how any other people might have used the data, including if it was used for a political purpose.
Having worked with TPD Chief Mike Navarre, I am confident this violation will be taken seriously and any unauthorized access will be appropriately punished. I call on him to share with the public what he finds out in his internal investigation and what action, if any, he takes.