Paw Paw Police Chief Donald Wilson, Jr., 48, was charged last Thursday, March 30 by the West Virginia State Police with the misdemeanor of obtaining confidential information for his own uses.
Wilson is accused of using his access to background information databases for personal reasons while he was on duty as an officer with the Moorefield Police Department.
Wilson was hired as a part-time police chief for Paw Paw in late January, confirmed Paw Paw mayor Darlene Abe.
Charges against Wilson were lodged in Hardy County Magistrate Court by Sgt. S.R. Smith, Berkeley Springs detachment commander of the State Police.
The investigation into the incident began in Morgan County, when a Morgan County Sheriff’s Department deputy saw, during a separate investigation, a confidential West Virginia DMV license query in the possession of a Morgan County resident.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Hardy County Magistrate Court, police found that the license check was conducted by Wilson at a law enforcement database terminal in Moorefield, located in Hardy County.
Wilson allegedly then provided the results of the confidential query with a private citizen. The query results contain confidential information, including birth date, Social Security number, driver’s license number and photograph.
Sgt. Smith investigated the origins of the license check, and determined that Wilson was on duty with the Moorefield Police Department at the time the check was run, and that the database was accessed at the Hardy County 911 Center.
The investigation indicated Wilson requested the information by calling the dispatch center, and asked that the confidential information be sent to him at the Moorefield Police Department.
Wilson later allegedly admitted to Smith that he took a photo of that information with his cell phone and sent them to a private citizen who had requested the information about that individual.
In the criminal complaint, Sgt. Smith reported that the private citizen was a friend of Wilson who had sought the information because they were being extorted by the individual whose background was searched.
“It is imperative in today’s society, with the information officers are entrusted with accessing, persons’ confidential information is kept secure,” Sgt. Smith said of the charges.