Miami-Dade County is investigating a breach of privacy that has affected more than 1,000 police officers and other county employees.
The personal information of police officers, lawyers and judges in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties was made public through a South Florida website last month, and employees in Miami-Dade were only alerted of the breach this week, according to John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association.
“When we made some inquiries we found out it was true and we were equally upset that the county had not informed the members of the police department so that they could take protective measures,” Rivera said.
In Broward County, more than 2,000 records were made public; in Palm Beach County, more than 4,000 people were affected. Rivera said the Miami-Dade PBA has contacted other Florida police unions and asked that the county take additional steps to protect the employees.
“We demanded from the county to do whatever it took to ensure that these systems are protected,” Rivera said.
Friday morning all county employees received a message from Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office urging them to take additional measures, including being vigilant of their surroundings and reporting any suspicious activity.
“We are working closely with the Miami-Dade Police Department and federal partners to investigate this unauthorized release of information,” Gimenez’s communications chief Mike Hernandez said in a statement.
Florida statutes protect the home addresses of police officers, prosecutors and judges, and it’s a misdemeanor to publish that information with malicious intent.
The website, which deals with issues involving law enforcement in Palm Beach County, was started by former Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mark Dougan. He told the Broward/Palm Beach New Times last month that he recently sold the site to Russian hackers and said they were responsible for the breach.
The county said it is independently investigating the source of the breach and can’t confirm if the information was accessed through county systems.