Database Connection Gaps Plague Houston Police


He is an illegal immigrant with at least eight aliases and an arrest record that includes attempted murder, robbery, theft, drugs and exhibiting a firearm. If Andres Maldonado Nava was booked into a local jail on a minor charge before he became infamous for his alleged role in the death of Houston Police officer Henry Canales in June, the fingerprint check system would not have shown any of his criminal or immigration history, says the Houston Chronicle. In Houston’s city and county jails, offenders booked on Class C offenses are fingerprinted but are checked only against local databases – not state or national databases that contain millions of criminal history records and warrants.

Because Nava had no rap sheet locally, jailers here would have no way of quickly and accurately determining who they had in custody. State and local officials are working to close that gap in the state’s biometric identification system and run checks on all offenders booked into Texas jails, even for the most minor offenses. So far, said city officials, the Houston police computer system cannot interface with the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s massive immigration database, which would give jailers access to suspects’ immigration history.

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