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Lawrence Police Accused Of Prying Into Personal Lives

Last updated on Saturday, August 4, 2012

(LAWRENCE) - State police have finished an investigation into claims that Lawrence police used a statewide database to delve into the private lives of political adversaries.

The vice president of the Lawrence Common Council asked for the investigation after learning that he, his wife and other residents' names were run through the Indiana Data and Communications System, or IDACS.

The database is used by police to run warrant checks during traffic stops and criminal investigations, but some in Lawrence believe that police abused the system to gain information about those perceived as political rivals of Mayor Dean Jessup.

"If it's being used because somebody has a grudge or somebody wants to look into somebody's records to stop them from doing something they don't want them to look into, that's wrong," said Lawrence Common Council President Linda Treat. "We don't even know if they're the only ones. There could be half the council, half the people in the city being looked into. We just don't know that."

Lawrence resident Bill Pettigo said he approached Jessup and Lawrence Police Chief Michael Walton after learning his name had been run through IDACS as well.

"When I confronted him and the chief about it, the officer's excuse was they got an anonymous phone call that I was going to cause a disturbance and throw tomatoes at the mayor, which I thought was kind of funny since I was one of the ones that helped with the campaign and did a lot of walking for the mayor," Pettigo said.

State police told RTV6's Jack Rinehart that investigators concluded that Lawrence police did not violate any administrative regulations pertaining to IDACS.

Lawrence residents said they plan to formally ask the governor's office to look into the complaint.

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