DCI, FBI investigate Dalgarn for accessing GPD computers: No charges filed, but Mayor Frank insists use was politically motivated against him, Hurd

Ethan Brogan ethan@glenrockind.com

In 2016, Converse County Emergency Management Coordinator and Glenrock Town Councilman Russ Dalgarn gained access to police and personnel files throughout the county system through a remote login installed on a computer by a former Glenrock police officer.
However, local, state and federal law enforcement investigations failed to conclusively prove allegations that Dalgarn used that access to search for personal information about Glenrock’s mayor and the mayor’s daughter.
According to the investigations by the Glenrock Police Department, state Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dalgarn was granted remote access to the county’s computer system by former GPD Sgt. Nicholas Larramendy.
The results of the investigation were forwarded to the Converse County Attorney’s office in December 2016, but no charges were ever filed.
The Glenrock Independent recently obtained details on the investigation after filing a request for their release under the Wyoming Public Documents Act.
According to the investigation,  Dalgarn was accused of using the access to search for information about Mayor Doug Frank and his daughter, Katherine Frank of Texas.
Dalgarn doesn’t deny that he was given access to the system by Larramendy but claims that he should have been allowed access because of his job as Converse County’s emergency management coordinator. He does dispute, however, that he looked up either of the Franks’ information.
Frank contends the searches for information were politically motivated. Frank was elected mayor in November 2014 and took office in January 2015. The remote logins seeking access to his information occurred in March 2015, when Frank was embroiled in contentious council meetings and public hearings, some of which involved then-Police Chief Tom Sweet and other Glenrock town staff, most of whom no longer work for the town.
Dalgarn was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council in May 2016; he is currently seeking re-election to the council.
The investigations and incident were never reported to the Converse County commissioners – Dalgarn’s direct bosses – as mandated in his job description. Nor was the investigation made public until the Glenrock Independent used the state’s public documents law to request the reports nearly three months ago. The commissioners said they are now aware of the situation and are reviewing the investigation documents obtained by the Independent.

How it began
In 2016, as the new Glenrock police chief, Tim Hurd audited department practices. He found something that took him by surprise: A single login and password profile for the GPD computer system had been accessed by two people, and a program had been installed on the computer to  provide remote access to the system, giving a user access to all of the department’s police files and related personal information, according to police documents.
So Hurd hired a private company to perform an audit of the GPD’s computer system, which is named Justice. The findings showed two people accessed the system under the same login. A follow-up investigation revealed those people were Larramendy and Dalgarn. Both had been given “level nine” access within the system, the highest clearance available, according to the initial GPD investigation.
“He (Dalgarn) had access to not only Glenrock’s reports and information; he had access to the county’s and also access to Douglas (Police Department) through the same entry,” Hurd said. “Why was he given a level nine clearance?”
Hurd double-checked to see if anyone outside of the department should have access to the computer system, and he contacted Converse County Sheriff Clint Becker.
“Administrators of the department would most likely have a security of nine because that (would) mean you could get into the program and actually switch programs,” Becker explained in an interview with the Independent. “Very few people would have authorization with a security of nine.”
So Hurd began investigating Dalgarn and Larramendy for the felony charge of unauthorized access of a computer, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
The audit of the Justice computer system revealed the searches were limited the Franks. The results came back showing that either Dalgarn or Larramendy searched for Katherine Frank’s driver’s license number “several times, but the return list was too large to narrow down,” according to GPD documents. Investigators were unable to determine which of the men might have conducted the search.
“I was outraged about it,” Frank said. “I felt like people were using proprietary resources that were intended for official use for political reasons.”
Dalgarn claims he did not look up the information about Frank’s daughter, and he maintains he was working within the perimeters of his job duties.
“The only time I logged in to that network to see if it worked was to make sure I could get into it,” Dalgarn said, adding that as emergency management coordinator he needed remote access in case there were any issues with radio or 911 operations.
Before Hurd was hired, Larramendy said he felt former interim GPD Chief Julie Wickett was attempting to have his law enforcement certification revoked. Because of that fear, he resigned his position by giving three days’ notice days after Hurd began working in Glenrock.
“I was told by numerous people around town they were going to find a reason to get rid of me,” Larramendy said.
In separate interviews, Larramendy said he gave Dalgarn access to the computer because he needed it for 911 services. Dalgarn said he was given administrator status and granted the ability to log into the computers five to seven months before Hurd’s arrival.
“When the PD and Town of Glenrock got their new voice recorder and new 911 system, the PD named me as the administrator of the system for them,” Dalgarn said.
Hurd said he had no records indicating Dalgarn ever had that status in the GPD.
“If that statement was true, why didn’t it ever come to me at any point in the investigation before or after the FBI and DCI spoke to him,” Hurd said. “If that was the case, then why wasn’t he officially issued a proper login and a proper password. . . why then was he given a back-door access to a law enforcement sensitive system?”
Hurd decided the case was too close to the department to handle internally, citing fear of conflict of interest if the case would ever go to trial. He contacted DCI to take it over. 
DCI Special Agent Robert Leazenby and FBI Special Agent Tory Smith performed their own audit.
The FBI declined the Independent’s request to interview Smith.
They discovered logins from Larramendy and Dalgarn, but “could not determine what activity the users conducted after connecting to the computer system through Teamviewer.” Teamviewer is a computer program that allows a user to control a computer remotely.
Leazenby interviewed former GPD Chief Tom Sweet on Dec. 1, 2016. Sweet told DCI he had no reason to distrust Larramendy’s integrity and he was not surprised that Larramendy would set up an account for Dalgarn, according to DCI documents obtained through the Public Documents Act. 
Sweet told DCI he believed “there was some political component to the relationships between Chief Hurd, Dalgarn and Larramendy.”
Agents Leazenby and Smith also interviewed Dalgarn and Larramendy.
DCI then looked at Dalgarn’s job description. To obtain the documents, they asked Converse County Commissioner Rick Grant for the information.
Grant provided the Converse County Emergency Service Coordinator’s job description, but he was never informed about specifics on why DCI needed it.
“I knew they were investigating (something), but that’s all I knew,” Grant said.
The remaining four commissioners, Tony Lehner, Mike Colling, Jim Willox and Robert Short, could not recall or were never notified about the investigation. In Dalgarn’s job description, there is a list of 37 job requirements, one of those being to “keep the county commissioners fully informed on emergency management activities on a regular basis.”
Furthermore, despite the county-wide nature of his job, Dalgarn has never attempted to gain a security clearance level from either the Douglas Police Department or the Converse County Sheriff’s Office.
“Nobody outside of my department did I give permission to have a level nine (clearance level),” Becker said. “I probably wouldn’t have given anybody outside my department a nine.”
Following the Aug. 8, 2016, town council meeting, Dalgarn approached Hurd and began asking him about a newly marked police car.
According to GPD documents, the conversation shifted to the FBI investigation, and Dalgarn called Hurd an “arrogant son of a b&@tch” and then said “thanks for the FBI questioning me.”
“I got in his face and asked him if he was done yet because I was tired of his bulls&$^,” Dalgarn said in a July 12 interview with the Independent, adding that he believed Hurd contacted the FBI following the investigation to provoke a reopening of the case.
“I said, ‘You’re done. I’m tired of your s^%$t (and) you need to knock it off,’” Dalgarn said.
Hurd said he never recontacted the FBI after the case closed.
Since the altercation, Hurd and Dalgarn said they have little contact with each other except about limited town matters.
DCI wrapped up its investigation and sent its findings to the Converse County Attorney’s Office Dec. 10, 2016. CCAO Prosecutor Joe Russell decided not to file any charges against Dalgarn or Larramendy.
“DCI and the FBI looked at it and it appears he (Dalgarn) was given authorization by someone who had the authorization to give it to him,” Russell said. “The whole unauthorized piece of that access just wasn’t there.”
The case was officially closed Dec. 16, 2016.


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