Mesa County Comes to Grips With a Massive Police-Security Error

December 6 2010, 2:00 PM

Sheriff and county administrators in Mesa County spent the weekend rushing to inform as many as 200,000 people that their personal information might be easily available on the Internet. The names of police informants were divulged, along with the home addresses of sheriff's deputies, e-mails about crime victims and homicide investigations--even the names of sheriff's office employees' spouses and children, writes 7News.

The Grand Junction Sentinel, which broke the story, reports that thousands of internal records from as far back as 20 years were mistakenly placed on the Internet in April by an employee with the Mesa County Information Technology Department. But the error wasn't discovered until November 24, says Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey. "It's mind-boggling to think this information made it to an unsecured site, but done by an employee who had legitimate access for legitimate work reasons," he says. One of the files obtained by the Sentinel includes more than 1,000 pages of names of informants who worked with the Western Colorado Drug Task Force for nearly a decade. The error has led Face the State to declare, "Mesa County Sheriff's Department WikiLeaks Itself."