A former Erie County Sheriff’s Office employee was arrested Monday afternoon in connection with improperly using a work computer to check people’s personal information.
Tracy A. Smith, 42, of Wakeman, was arrested without incident at her South Street home. She was charged with improper use of a computer, a fifth-degree felony punishable by six to 12 months behind bars.
“She was a former dispatcher. She was here about six months,” Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said.
Smith is accused of improperly using the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OLEG) computer system to check on “specific people when she had no real law enforcement reason to do so,” Oliver said.
OLEG runs through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and includes information about people’s driver’s licenses, concealed carry permits, Bureau of Motor Vehicle records and includes the LEADS database.
Smith was granted access to OLEG in January.
“It was brought to my attention by another employee. I requested an audit through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office,” Oliver said.
The chief deputy’s audit covered about three months.
“She had checked on approximately a couple hundred people; some of it was work-related. Some people she checked on were former neighbors, her ex-husband and an ex-boyfriend,” Oliver said.
“She had no reason whatsoever to do that at her residence or (when she was) off-duty,” he added. “OLEG is strictly for law enforcement purposes.”
A few weeks ago, Sheriff Paul Sigsworth fired Smith in connection with violating related department policies.
“She was a probationary employee. She worked full-time for our agency for approximately the last six months,” Oliver said.
After Smith was arrested and transported to the Erie County Jail, she was released on a personal recognizance bond at the request of the Vermilion Municipal Court Judge W. Zack Dolyk.