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Bill would allow database of gang members in Nevada

CARSON CITY — A bill to create a centralized, state-level database to help law enforcement combat gang-related crime would also make provisions for suspected or former gang members or their affiliates to formally refute the label and get removed from the list.

Assembly Bill 307, sponsored by Assemblyman Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas, and eight other lawmakers, also would provide for expunging records of those on the list if they have no criminal interaction with law enforcement in five years.

The bill, with conceptual amendments, won the endorsement of law enforcement, criminal justice lawyers and public defenders in a hearing Friday before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

“We just want to ensure that law enforcement can do their job and at the same time that we have some due process for those individuals who are trying to get off the registry,” Flores told the committee.

Some 90 percent of suspected gang members self-identify to police in the field, committee members heard in testimony. In Las Vegas currently, if someone is identified by police as a gang member, the person is notified in writing and, if the person is a minor, police make a home visit.

Law enforcement agencies already use existing state and federal gang databases. Flores said the new state registry, a confidential tool for use only by law enforcement, would notify anyone being added to the list and allow them time to prove they shouldn’t be on it, either in writing or in person. The automatic five-year, no-contact expungement would not be affected by casual encounters a person might have with police.

“A lot of kids may be very proud to be a gang member at 17 or 18, and all of a sudden they have a family at 23-24, and we realize that, in fact, that kid is now a grown human being who has a family and their priorities have changed,” Flores said.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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