Providence cop accused of running inappropriate background check

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A veteran Providence police officer is the subject of an internal affairs investigation after allegedly using a department computer system to run a background check on someone for personal use.

Providence Police Col. Hugh Clements confirmed the patrolman is under investigation but declined to name the officer.

“We have an ongoing internal investigation regarding rules and regulations and administrative protocol,” Clements said. “It involves using a system to run [background] checks on a person.”

Clements said it is against departmental policy to use law enforcement systems and records to compile a background check on someone outside of official police business.

Target 12 has learned the officer has been on the job since 2005.

Officers routinely use databases like the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is managed by the FBI and compiles criminal records from federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Police also have access to the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (RILETS), a similar database that is managed by the state police.

Clements would not say who the officer ran the report on or why, but said he expects the department to hand down disciplinary actions “soon.”

“We are just closing out [the investigation] and waiting on a few things to button up,” he said.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook