Powerful database program used by law enforcement contains information on any law enforcement contacts
January 17, 2018-Many people have heard police officers and other government officials use the term “Spillman” but few understand the power of the large database maintained by area police. The Spillman database gets its name from the creator of the software, Spillman Technologies, Inc. A database is simply a computer program which stores information. What information is stored, how it is retrieved and by whom it is retrieved are the important questions with regard to any sensitive information.
What information is stored in Lake County’s Spillman system?
According to testimony in the Buncich hearing, all law enforcement contacts are stored in Lake County’s Spillman system. Thus law enforcement personnel from any jurisdiction within Lake County have the authority to input data. According to Lake County Sheriff Director of Communication Emiliano Perez, employees of the Lake County Clerk’s Office and all Lake County Courts have access to Spillman as well. While most people believe that only information regarding criminals is stored in the system, information regarding victims, witnesses and other individuals who come into contact with law enforcement officers is also stored. As you can see from the above example provided by Spillman Technologies, identifying information such as scars, tattoos, and aliases can be input and stored for retrieval at any time. Home addres, work address, home phone and cellular phone are standard fields as well as prior law enforcement contacts. If there is a prior arrest, a mug shot is attached. Multiple files can be attached and accessed from the home screen.
How is the information accessed?
Authorized employees are given a username and password and they can log into the system from an authorized terminal. This double authentication provides protection from nefarious individuals who would like to hack into the system. Certain individuals have the authority to access the server from remote computers; authority which is commonly referred to as VPN (virtual private network). Thus, some employees can access the Spillman system from home or on a non-government issued laptop.
Who has access to the information?
We learned yesterday that employees of Correctional Health Indiana (CHI) were provided usernames and passwords for the Spillman system. According to testimony, the access was granted because the information may be useful at times when providing medical care to inmates. According to Emiliano Perez, CHI is the only outside vendor provided Spillman access (presumably Spillman Technologies employees could access the system). As stated above, all law enforcement personnel in Lake County have the ability to access and input information into the system. When you get a warning ticket in Highland and get pulled over the next day in Griffith, Griffith Police would see the law enforcement contact from the day before.
The Lake County Clerk also inputs information regarding tickets and criminal convictions into Spillman. Presumably, municipal clerks have the same authority. Judges and their staff also have access to Spillman data.
Can I see my Spillman data?
There is no procedure whereby individuals can see their own Spillman data and verify the accuracy of the data. It is unknown how long information is stored in the Spillman system.