Has the Williamstown police stepped over the line? Acting Police Chief Michael Ziemba is investigating unauthorized use of the commonwealth's Criminal Justice Information System by members of the Williamstown Police Department.

Iberkshires.com reports that in a statement issued on Friday afternoon, Ziemba said that

"A few officers of the Williamstown Police Department searched names of individuals in Registry of Motor Vehicle records accessed through the Criminal Justice Information System database without a criminal justice purpose as required by Massachusetts law and Department of Criminal Justice Information Services regulations. In addition, security and logging controls to the CJIS system have been tightened, and logs of all searches are being regularly reviewed by myself,"

Ziemba said that disciplinary actions have been taken and that all of the personnel involved are undergoing retraining in the rules for accessing the CJIS.

When it is complete, Ziemba said he will notify by letter everyone whose name was searched. He called completing the investigation and notifying the public "a top priority."

Ziemba said he has been in contact with about half the people whose names were subject of the searches.
Ziemba said.

"I understand and share their frustration, and I have welcomed the opportunity to hear their fears and concerns, "I thank them for speaking with me directly. I reiterate my commitment to transparency in sharing with the public what details can be shared while the investigation remains ongoing, and I also reiterate the commitment of the entire department to the safety and well-being of all people in Williamstown."

At this time, Ziemba said that no evidence has been discovered of improper access to the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system, and no dissemination of the CJIS information has been discovered.

The investigation into the unauthorized searches is ongoing

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