San Benito Police Investigate Alleged Duplication of Recordings
SAN BENITO – The San Benito Police Department is investigating how hundreds of police recordings stored on the department’s computer server were allegedly copied and taken.
San Benito City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said this isn’t a security breach. He said he believes someone in the police department took the recordings.
San Benito Police Chief Michael Galvan wouldn’t speak on camera to CHANNEL 5 NEWS. He did say there’s evidence that shows his recordings were copied.
De La Rosa also declined to meet with us. He sent a statement in which he says the issue first came to light about two months ago – that’s when police started their investigation.
The statement reads:
Chief Galvan made me aware of this issue two months ago, and at that time he initiated an investigation. However, with this latest development, the enquiry has reached a new level.
At no time has there been a breach in the Police computers’ firewall. We are the victims here. Someone has taken advantage of their position and compromised the public’s trust.
We have called a special meeting of the City Commission for next Wednesday, with an executive session regarding the leaked police chief records. This will give the officials the opportunity to ask questions of our City Attorney and Public Safety Legal Counsel on this leakage of information, in order for them to gain an understanding of what is going on, as well as what the rights of the City and our employees are.
I do not get involved in such investigations, and we cannot discuss an ongoing investigation or personnel matters.
Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez said it was an anonymous caller that first alerted him about the recordings being leaked to the public. He said he is concerned about what could be on the recordings.
“How about if there’s information out there that could be on something or somebody and it could hurt somebody’s case, or somebody gets indicted or whatever. That’s why we need to find out why it happened, how it happened, you know, those are the questions we need to ask,” he said.
Galvan said the preliminary findings show his recorded conversations were saved to a file without restricted administrative access.
As per San Benito Police policy, San Benito police officers are allowed to carry personal recording devices if approved by administrators.
Body cameras also record interactions with the public. The police department is also under camera surveillance as are phone calls to police.
Rodriguez said allowed or not, the possible leak of information is a serious issue.
“I hope the citizens can be patient with us. We are trying to get to the bottom of this as a commission, and we will have to make a decision and it’s going to be a difficult decision, but we have to come up with a solution for this problem. We’re not taking this matter lightly at all,” Rodriguez said.
San Benito city commissioners have called for a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the leaked recordings in executive session.
Investigators aren’t discarding any possibilities including that the recordings may have been taken by a disgruntled employee or employees.
Galvan said they have taken added measures to secure the servers.