ROMNEY FILES BILL REQUIRING WARRANT ENTRY FOR SERIOUS CRIMES
Governor Mitt Romney today filed legislation that requires local police departments to enter all warrants for felony crimes and serious misdemeanors into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
"When confronted with a wanted individual, it is vital that law enforcement officers have the ability to access information about that person and take appropriate steps to protect themselves. Right now, we have a hodgepodge system where too much is left to chance. My legislation will establish uniform standards for the entry of warrant information," said Romney.
Romney's bill would require law enforcement agencies to enter any felony warrant involving a serious crime of violence or narcotics trafficking into the NCIC database within 24 hours of the issuance of the warrant. In addition, the bill requires other types of felony and serious misdemeanor warrants to be entered within 72 hours of the issuance of the warrant.
Currently, police chiefs have discretion on which warrants to enter and when to enter them.
The Executive Office of Public Safety has worked with a number of organizations, including the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Major City Chiefs Association, the Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts District Attorney's Association and the Office of Attorney General, to increase the number of warrants entered into the system. Although these efforts have met with some success, the legislation will set clear standards that must be followed by everyone.
The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to review and enter certain previously-issued warrants that have not yet been entered into the NCIC system.
"It is critical that police officers have access to accurate and timely information regarding felony warrants - their safety often depends on it," said Public Safety Secretary Robert C. Haas. "For too long, this problem has lingered without a satisfactory resolution. I applaud Governor Romney for bringing this important issue to the attention of the Legislature."