A jury on Friday found a former Aurora police lieutenant guilty of first-degree official misconduct for using his access to a confidential, criminal justice information database to help his then-girlfriend get a job.
The jury deliberated less than 30 minutes before finding Leland Silver, 47, guilty of the Class 2 misdemeanor. Judge Colleen Clark sentenced him to 30 days in jail, suspended, with 12 months of probation.
“No one is above the law. We expect the best from our sworn law enforcement officers,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “We place significant trust in those we hire to be our protectors. From them, we expect much. This defendant damaged the trust our community places in its officers through his self-serving abuse of sensitive information.”
By statute Silver’s conviction will result in revocation of his Colorado peace officer certification.
Silver was terminated by the Aurora Police Department.
In April 2017, Silver’s ex-girlfriend reported the misuse to Aurora Police investigators, who referred the investigation to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI).
CBI determined that in May 2015, Silver accessed the criminal justice information database to find an identity that his girlfriend could use to find a job. The girlfriend had a criminal record and was having difficulties passing a background check. Silver then texted to his girlfriend the driver’s license information, including the date of birth and Social Security number, of a woman with the same name who had no criminal record.
There was no evidence the girlfriend actually used the ID that Silver gave her.
Accessing the databases (the National Crime Information Center/Colorado Crime Information Center (NCIC/CCIC) and DMV records) with the intent to obtain a benefit not only violates APD and CBI rules, but it is also a crime.
“This defendant abused his power,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Amy Ferrin told the court. “He put an innocent person — who trusts in the police — at risk of being the victim of identity theft. When a police officer misbehaves, it tarnishes the reputation of the entire profession. He should never again be able to work as a public servant.”
“His behavior is a problem because it is a crime,” added Deputy District Attorney Diana Sada, who prosecuted the case with Ferrin. “His badge does not shield him from the law.”