An independent monitor has concluded that Denver police misused criminal records databases. The crime databases were both state and federal. Searches were performed that were not related to law enforcement and/or in the line of duty. Criminal records database was abused for the benefit of friends and for romance. Punishment, surprisingly, was a written reprimand and no criminal charges were brought. A written reprimand seen as little deterrent to future abuse. The criminal records database in question were the Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC) and the National Crime information Center (NCIC). The report also stated the databases are there for the purpose of investigating crime and remain powerful tools. Abusing the integrity of a criminal records database compromises community and public trust. Written reprimands imposed on the Denver Police Department were not commensurate with the severity of the crime.
The Independent Monitor uncovered numerous wrongful searches of the criminal records database. This included a obtaining the number of a female an officer came in to contact with on assignment. Another officer ran a license plate check for a friend who stalked the subject. No charges of access crime were levelled against any of the 25 Denver officers who abused the system. A 3 day suspension being the toughest sanction. Civilians who gain access to a law enforcement criminal records database would be charged, no doubt, with hacking. The crime database is inclusive immigration status, criminal records, home addresses and details around victims of domestic violence who have protection orders. Also arrest records of juveniles are also included within the databases.
A written reprimand was also given to an officer who left an “unwelcome voice message” that the female found upsetting. The officer encountered the female who was a hospital employee while investigating a reported sexual assault. The female employee had not given the officer her number. An investigation concluded the officer had used the the criminal records database to to obtain her number. The officer admitted to the misconduct. Denver Police Department admits it does not audit use of the criminal records database by it’s officers. However, reassuringly, it will investigate complaints and reports of abuse.
There have been a number of reports state wide over law enforcement accessing criminal records database (State and National) for personal use. Occasionally resulting in criminal punishment. Minneapolis paid $1 million to an ex female police officer who had her driving license record accessed over 400 times by her fellow officers.
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