PBSO investigating release of confidential law enforcement addresses


The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is investigating how the confidential home addresses of thousands of officers, prosecutors, judges and others were posted online over the weekend.

The addresses are redacted from the county property appraiser’s website at the request of police and prosecutors, as allowed under state law, but friends of a former sheriff’s deputy with a grudge against the agency obtained the information and posted it online.

It includes nearly 3,600 names and addresses of local and federal judges and prosecutors, FBI agents and officers from many local police departments. It also lists addresses of facilities that house victims of domestic violence.

The Palm Beach Post is not naming the site or linking to it because of the sensitive nature of the records.

How the information ended up online is a mystery. Pat Poston, the property appraiser’s director of exemption services, which handles requests by police officers to redact their home addresses, said county information technology specialists said no one had hacked the property appraiser’s database.

“We’ve been contacted by the sheriff’s office,” Poston said. “They are beginning an investigation.”

A spokeswoman from PBSO did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment. The State Attorney’s Office learned of the release soon after it went online and notified its prosecutors, spokesman Mike Edmondson said.

The site that posted the information is linked to former deputy Mark Dougan, an outspoken enemy of Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and his second-in-command, Chief Deputy Michael Gauger. In a civil suit filed in 2012, Gauger accuses Dougan of defaming him.

Dougan denied responsibility for the release. He said friends in Russia were responsible, but said he knew “a long time ago” that the hackers had the information.

Dougan said the release was retribution against the sheriff’s office, which he claimed had hacked into his personal Facebook and email accounts without a warrant.

“It sucks, but if the government doesn’t want their privacy breached, then they can’t go around breaching the privacy of citizens without a warrant,” he said. “Yes, 4,000 people were not involved in hacking my stuff, but those 4,000 people didn’t do anything to stop it.”

Although state law allows many types of public employees to request their home addresses be redacted from property appraiser websites, many don’t. Those who were not redacted are not exposed on the new posting. The 3,600 all had taken advantage of the state law to keep people from knowing where they live.

In addition to current and former law enforcement, some private investigators, firefighters, victims of domestic violence and recent military veterans can all apply to the property appraiser to have their addresses shielded in property records.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Artist defends Moonfest Trump poster: ‘It wasn’t a play to stir the pot’
Artist defends Moonfest Trump poster: ‘It wasn’t a play to stir the pot’

Controversy arose on social media this week over this year’s Moonfest’s poster—which depicted President Donald Trump in a haunting form. But the artist behind the picture defends his work for the annual West Palm Beach Halloween festival. Craig McInnis, a freelance artist, said the idea of Trump on the poster came up when he and other...
Long waits, traffic jams at last day of Florida for Food program
Long waits, traffic jams at last day of Florida for Food program

Six-hour waits on Dixie Highway, Congress Avenue and Lantana Road greeted applicants as the sun came up Saturday, the last day for the Food for Florida Program. “We got here at 6 a.m. Traffic already way backed up. My wife said we should have been here at 2 a.m. I should have listened to her,” said Peter Gastrons as he and his wife Alice...
NEW: Boca Raton Police seek suspect shooting BB gun from vehicle
NEW: Boca Raton Police seek suspect shooting BB gun from vehicle

Boca Raton police are seeking information about a recent rash of BB gun shootings on the city’s east side. Police have received three reports since Thursday of incidents where people were struck by BBs as they were eating outdoors, walking or waiting at a bus stop. Police believe a suspect fired a BB gun in all three cases from a vehicle, believed...
Trump intends to release classified documents about JFK assassination
Trump intends to release classified documents about JFK assassination

In a tweet Saturday morning, President Donald Trump said he will allow classified government documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to be released, “subject to the receipt of further information.” Trump is facing an Oct. 26 deadline mandated by Congress for the public release of the secret documents, which include...
New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia marks 40th year
New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia marks 40th year

The New River Gorge Bridge is celebrating its 40th anniversary Saturday, and this year’s Bridge Day will be a banner event for the West Virginia span. The bridge officially opened on Oct. 22, 1977. It is 876 feet from the span to the surface of the New River Gorge, “They invited all of West Virginia to come and see this new amazing...
More Stories