SYRACUSE, NY – The President of the Retired Police Officers Association says it came as quite a scare to 300 retired Syracuse police officers when they received this letter from Syracuse City Hall on Friday.
Peter Ruszczak told CNY Central’s Jim Kenyon, “I was actually overwhelmed by the number of people who called me over the weekend.”
The letter told the retired cops that there was a data breach within the Personnel Department. The retired officers and their dependents personal information including names, addresses and social security numbers had been compromised.
As President of the Syracuse Police Benevolent Association, Jeffrey Piedmonte also fielded calls from retired police officers. ” Obviously something needs to be tightened up we’re not sure how this occurred yet.” Piedmonte says.
According to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Bill Ryan, an employee from the Personnel Department sent an email to a retired police officer and mistakenly added an attachment. The attachment included the personal information of all retired cops and their dependents. Ryan says the officer contacted City Hall about the data breach and deleted the attachment he had received.
Ryan says the incident points to a problem in the manner in which they maintain data here at City Hall. “It shows we need some better training perhaps. Secondly we’ve taken some steps. We’re going to encrypt the data and we’re going to use the last 4 digits of the Social Security numbers.” Ryan said.
Never the less, the letter advises the retired officers to keep track of their credit reports and monitor the charges on their credit cards.