THE HEATED DEBATE ON GANG DATABASES By Thomas Carey | OCTOBER 18TH,
Originally, Sen. Peter Daniels, an Independent, proposed the IMPACT (Interagency Measures Provided Against Criminal Threats) Act which would see funding provided by the State so the Los Santos Police Department (LSPD) could maintain a State Gang Database using the software GangNET. This would allow Commanding Officers in the LSPD to maintain a State wide database in which active gang members would be added.
However soon after, the Republican Chairwoman, Sen. Nina Silva proposed the SAGang Act and this was the beginning of a long and political battle.
The SAGang Act proposed that a gang database should be maintained by all agencies involved, including the Los Santos County Sheriffs Department (LSSD) and the San Andreas Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (SADCR). The Department of Justice would also maintain judicial oversight of the database and all agencies would need to fund the database from their allocated yearly budgets.
For many months, we have seen comments across the Chambers between members of the Republican Party and the Independent representative, Sen. Daniels. Originally, the Committee on Public Safety & State Security wished to make amendments to the bill and make it so the LSPD would not maintain exclusive control over the database however, Sen. Daniels only partially compromised and stood with his stance that the database should be under the administration of the LSPD.
Despite the opposition, the Republican Party eventually agreed to withdraw the SAGang Act and work with Sen. Daniels on a new bill known as the CRASH (Crime Reduction, Abatement, Suppression and Hampering) Act, which would see all the LSPD maintaining administration, but with contributions from the LSSD and SADCR. However, this was apparently on the agreement that Sen. Daniels would also withdraw the IMPACT Act, which he has not done. Even though it originally seemed that Sen. Daniels and the Republican Party would be working together, their heated debate has yet again kicked off.
Sen. Daniel Calhoun (R), who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety & State Security, feels there is a loophole which could be exploited by "rogue officers". In its current language, the Act reads; "Law enforcement agencies may establish and maintain internal gang databases separated from the San Andreas State Gang Database (GangNET)."
Sen. Calhoun feels this should not be allowed as this means one agency may refuse to contribute to the database and instead just maintain their own. However, despite the objection, the LSPD has stated that they will "ask the Governor to veto it" and even accused Sen. Calhoun of "not trusting" them in a strongly worded email by Deputy Chief of Police Baudelio Hauerta.
Sen. Daniels has also accused Sen. Calhoun of trying to "delay the implementation of a much needed tool for law enforcement agencies across the State."
A spokesperson for Sen. Calhoun said: "There is a definite loophole in the bill's language that Senator Calhoun feels would allow agencies to undermine the highly regulated database in order to run their own unregulated systems of documenting gang members. This could potentially put citizen's civil liberties and privacy at risk, something that Senator Calhoun promised to defend in the pursuit of crime-reduction."
"Deputy Chief of Police Huerta means well, but has misconstrued the Honorable Senator's actions against the bill that the LSPD and other state agencies support", the spokesperson further elaborated on the accusations made.
SAN also reached out to Sen. Daniels, who directly commented, stating: "The reason why the IMPACT bill hasn't been withdrawn is, as stated during the debate, to allow for the public to compare the differences between the IMPACT bill and the CRASH bill, which effectively is its successor.
I personally feel that Senator Calhoun is misguided in his attempt at amending the CRASH bill with changes that would effectively harm the bill and create more issues than they solve."
The debate goes on in the Senate Chambers and we expect this will take quite some time, with Sen. Peter Daniels refusing to budge on amendments and the Republican Party refusing to move forward with a positive vote.
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