Hayes accused of illegally accessing law-enforcement database systems –
By Patricia Beech –
An Adams County grand jury last week handed down a five-count indictment against a former Manchester police officer accused of illegally accessing law enforcement databases.
Officer Joshua Hayes stands accused of using the Ohio Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) and the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG) system to conduct dozens of illegal searches.
According to the indictment, Hayes misused the system when he allegedly “unlawfully did knowingly gain access to, attempt to gain access to, cause access to be granted to, or disseminated information gained from access to (OHLEG)”, while pursuing information on individuals on or about Feb. 22, 2015, Oct. 5, 2015, Dec. 20, 2015, June 5, 2016, and LEADS Jan. 15 to April 25, 2015.
Hayes has not had access to OHLEG or LEADS since July 2016. He has been under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations since Nov. 2016.
Former Manchester Police Chief Jeff Bowling, who instigated the investigation into Hayes’s activities told FOX 19 News earlier this year that the officer was illegally pursuing information about “personal friends, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, and himself.”
The LEADS database includes personal information such as home addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and criminal records which are only accessible for use by authorized law-enforcement personnel. The OHLEG system allows law-enforcement agencies to share criminal justice data – its use is limited to those employed by criminal justice agencies.
Bowling discovered the searches during a required system audit last spring. He says he believes Hayes was using the LEADS and OHLEG systems to check up on his own record stemming from an incident with law-enforcement in Kentucky in 2011.
After discovering the undisclosed 2011 incident, Bowling suspended, then terminated Hayes from the Manchester PD, but his decision was later overturned by village council members under advisement of counsel.
Hayes acted as Resource Officer for the Manchester School District in addition to working part-time as an officer for the village. Both he and Bowling were laid off last month after the village council disbanded the police department citing lack of funds.
A hearing is scheduled for April 12 in Adams County Court of Common Pleas.