Gunfight at the IT Corral

Published: August 18th, 2009

Picture it … you’re a sys admin with the county government, doing your part to keep the municipal wheels of government rolling. Then one day, the cops storm the building, seize your IT system, and threaten you with arrest if you try to stop them.

That’s exactly what happened recently in Maricopa County in Arizona. The county sheriff and deputies took over municipal servers that provide access to Department of Public Safety databases, which store criminal background information, and changed the passwords, according to AZ Central.

The sheriff’s department took the county to court in the spring to wrest control of the servers from the Board of Supervisors, saying that too much sensitive information was available to the system’s civilian administrators. Apparently, the case was moving through the courts too glacially for the taste of Chief Deputy (isn’t that a contradiction in terms?) David Hendershott, for the department descended on the frightened civvies, kicked them out and locked down the server rooms.

Though a judge later ordered Hendershott to reveal the passwords and relinquish control of the servers, he said he’d do jail time for contempt first. Actual quote: “I bet I get a pretty decent place … Something with a view of the dump.”



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