Sheriff's Computer Seizure Hearing Day Two: Judge Wants to Wrap Up by 4:30

2:40 p.m.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Heilman says he wants to wrap this up by 4:30 today.

Steve Wetzl takes the stand...

Chief Information Officer for Maricopa County.

Wetzl says he heard from the sheriff's office this week and was told the agency was taking control of the ICJIS system and anyone who intefered would be arrested.

Says it would take 15-18 months and more than $1 million to take over and re-establish a new "Zone 2" network, which is the law enforcement end. As an example of the complexity, Internet service comes through a different zone of the ICJIS system: "It was all designed to work holistically," he says.

Kerry Martin cross-examines Wetzl. Martin asks him if he knows what MCSO changed.

Wetzl says they told me they were taking control, "and I'm not sure what all extent that includes."

Martin asks if county officials made assertions that e-mail would be taken over, would that be incorrect? Wetzl says it's correct that ICJIS doesn't control county e-mail.

Martin asks what is the importance of administrative passwords.

Wetzl says it gives admin control. Says ICJIS personnel has that password, which include three full-time contractors and a number of other outside contractors. He didn't have the password. Wetzl says he doesn't know whether any of the five agencies that make up ICJIS had the password.

Martin's trying to nail down who had that password and whether MCSO could change the password if they wanted to.








Wetzl says MCSO is not cooperating with changes he suggested to ICJIS.

In 2008, Wetzl phoned call from Sharon Wilson at DPS, who is the chief information officer for DPS. Wade Swanson, county civil litigation department director, recommended Wetzl go to DPS to learn more about DPS, Wetzl admits.

Wetzl admits Wilson told him that any changes to ICJIS would have to go through MCSO. (Ouch!)

Martin: So it was your understanding MCSO would have to approve any changes? Wetzl says that's true.

But Wetzl says the intent was to work with MCSO to make changes to the computer system.

County OET is not responsible for ICJIS, does not operate ICJIS, Wetzl says.

Wetzl admits he talked to Presiding Judge Barbara Mundell about Zone 2. Martin badgers him, saying he didn't want to talk to them, did he? Wetzl says: "Why should we?" Judge Heilman asks them to stop the back-and-forth banter.

If ICJIS is part of Zone 2, that wasn't the main thrust of the conversation with Mundell.

Their "primary thrust" was to receive "Tok?" certification... (Sorry... they're losing us here. Not sure what tok is...)

(A nice man behind us whispers that they're talking about terminal operator certification, which gives you the ability to run criminal histories).

Wetzl says that no matter what they do, they need to get the stakeholders involved. That seems to frustrate Martin's tack of getting Wetzl to admit the county can make changes to the criminal justice system without a criminal justice agency involved.

Dave Selden, attorney for the county, now asks Wetzl what kind of changes had been recommended. Wetzl says the changes are being recommended to make sure the system works properly.

Selden asks if OET has any plan to make changes without the consent of the sheriff's office. Wetzl says no. Then he steps down.

Selden then calls Tom Gendron to the stand. Gendron takes stand with a fedora. Judge Heilman, quite the comedian, says he didn't get the "fedora memo."

Gendron is an IT consultant who works for ICJIS.

Says that at about 9:30 a.m. on August 12, Bob Rampy (an ICJIS rep for the sheriff's office) presented him with a letter, indicating the sheriff's office was exerting management control.

During that conversation, Bob got a phone call, Gendron says. Gendron says it was obvious deputies were "staging" nearby. Judge asks what he means by that. Gendron says he could hear people saying they were staging across the street.

"So I understood that additional officers would be coming in," he says.

Gendron asked if it was okay if he told Gary Huish, program manager for ICJIS, what he had heard. Rampy said it was okay, so he did.

Judge asks him what instructions the sheriff's office gave.

Gendron says he was "asked" not to interfere. Judge asks if any reference was made to what would happen if he did interfere. Gendron says no. (What, no threat of arrest??)

Gendron says password was changed. He had the password, consultants, Bob Rampy, sheriff's personnel, Robert Cook (not sure who he is), and a few other people.

Gendron says he could still access information, but if a hard disk failed, for example, "I would have to first reach out to the sheriff for support."

Selden, the county's lawyer, asks about the fact that a password hadn't been changed in about nine years.

Gendron says "it's kind of embarrassing" the password had not been changed in so long. It had only been four years since it had been changed, but he states again he's embarrassed -- it should be changed every 90 days.

Selden makes a point that the sheriff's office and the county attorney's office has had the password for four years. Gendron says he doesn't think the county attorney's office has used its password to log in in the last four years.

Selden asks if any potential "collapse or breach of the system" was about to occur on August 12 related to the fact of a password change. Gendron says no.

Gendron admits the sheriff's office must have known the password hadn't been changed in four years. Says an audit happened about four years ago, which resulted in a password change at that time.

Now Martin asks Gendron questions.

Says it's interesting that he presents a different picture of what happened on Wednesday.

Martin asks whether he gave county officials an account of what happened. Gendron says he talked to the county's lawyer, which turns out to be Selden. Judge Heilman says that would be privileged info, so Martin can't find out what they talked about.

Gendron feels ICJIS "owns" the password to the system units -- "they're my children," he says. "I determined what runs on the boxes."

Gendron says he had no problem with MCSO changing the password.

"I didn't feel there was going to be any fallout to jeapordize the performance or functionality of the system," he says.

He also felt relief that something was happening to take over the high-level security aspect of the system.

Gendron had sent e-mail saying he thought the system should work okay during this "hopefully short lock-out."

Judge asks why he thought the lock-out would be "hopefully short."

Gendron says it's because he's "uniquely qualified" to help run the system. He mentions that another ICJIS worker was also important. Would take "months and tons of money" to handle problems without them.

But he's talking about convenience -- he believes he would be given access by the sheriff's office if it was needed.

Gendron says the clerk of the court and Superior Court folks never access the ICJIS system.

Besides the password, the Zone 2 login was changed to require encrypted login. He says it's kind of redundant, like wearing both belt and suspenders, but "not a big deal."

Martin asks if you had the admin password, could you go into the criminal justice databases. Gendron says absolutely not (which seems to frustrate Martin).

Gendron says he works for ICJIS and reports to David Smith, county manager. Martin asks if Wetzl or Smith says to add software, would he do it? Gendron says he wouldn't install anything he thought was inappropriate on the system.

(Meanwhile, time is ticking away. Less than an hour to the judge's 4:30 deadline, and the sheriff's side hasn't called its witnesses).

Judge calls a 15-minute recess (it's 3:40) and indicates that when we get back we'll have 35 minutes to finish.

Continues here.








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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.