A group named OCCCWS has asked a series of probing questions to appointed OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in what amounts to an accusation that she is covering up at least one incident of confidential records abuse within the SAFE division of the Sheriff’s department.
The letter asks if members of the OCSD SAFE division are currently under internal investigation for “illegally using law enforcement and/or DMV databases to probe the histories and/or personal information of individuals not under criminal investigation, such as current or former love interests, or romantic rivals.”
It goes on to question the legality of not reporting the investigation to authorities such as the FBI and DOJ. OCCCWS also wants to know why the incident was kept from public view after promises of transparency within the department.
The accusations specifically target the S.A.F.E. division, which was developed by Hutchens last year to “create policies and procedures to bring the department up to industry standards.” For her critics, that means bringing Los Angeles-style policing to a reluctant Orange County population.
The letter contains no details or evidence to back up the accusations, so we’ll just hope that more information is forthcoming. It’s worth noting that the guys behind OCCCWS are well connected within the OCSD and their disdain for Hutchens is notorious, making it very plausible that news of an internal investigation would get leaked through them.
So was there an incident? An internal investigation? Will the department respond to requests for transparency? We’ll find out.