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Those who Misuse Law Enforcement Computer System Won't be Traceable

April 25, 2002
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Those who Misuse Law Enforcement Computer System Won't be Traceable

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The names of those who abuse a confidential police computer system will be deleted after each case is investigated because state officials voted to change the current policy.

State officials Thursday made it harder for the public to learn who has abused the confidential Law Enforcement Information Network, a computer database containing driving records, criminal records and other personal information.

The Criminal Justice Information Systems Policy Council vote means the names of police officers and others who abuse the system will remain private.

The council, made up of prosecutors, police and state officials, made the change after state and local police officials expressed concerns that maintaining a database of abusers would violate labor contracts, which limit the amount of time a transgression can remain on an employee's record, reported the Detroit Free Press in a Friday story.

The vote effectively makes it impossible to find out who has been misusing the system without contacting the department in which the abuse occurred. In some cases, police chiefs have refused to release such information.

The Free Press reported last year that more than 90 Michigan police officers, dispatchers, federal agents and security guards have used the system during the past five years to harass women or settle scores. The information is supposed to be used only for legitimate law enforcement purposes.

Kary Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, said lists of lawyers and doctors who are disciplined get published, so why not the system's abusers?

"On the one hand we're saying people who commit offenses should be broadcast on the Internet, and on the other hand we're saying one group should not," she said.

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