A Tennessee Highway Patrol officer ran a background check of Tennessean reporter Brad Schrade after Schrade wrote about punishments doled out to troopers for leaking information, The Tennessean reports. Lt. Ronnie Shirley, the target of an internal probe into why he ran unauthorized checks of up to 182 people, used a law enforcement database portal to look at Schrade’s driver’s license information on Jan. 15, 2007. A few days before Shirley ran the check, Schrade reported on an appeals hearing in which four disciplined officers denied wrongdoing associated with leaked allegations of exam tampering for trooper recruits.
Shirley made the checks between October 19, 2006, and July 3, 2008, when his access to the portal was shut off; the investigation began on July 2. Shirley was put on administrative leave last Tuesday, well after the probe’s start and within a week of Schrade first reporting on the investigation.