FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          AG
WENESDAY, JUNE 4, 1997                             (202) 514-2008
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- Attorney General Janet Reno today called
on all 50 states to renew efforts to computerize their criminal
history records, which are increasingly important in fighting
crime.  Her call came in a speech to the Criminal Justice
Information Services (CJIS) Advisory Policy Board, representing
senior law enforcement officials from around the country, at their
meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida.  

     "As we move to the 21st century, information-sharing and
technology are becoming bywords of law enforcement success," Reno

     Reno called on the states to continue to update their criminal
history records, to provide information to the FBI for the interim
National Sex Offender Registry, and to participate in the National
Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), mandated by the
Brady Act.  In addition, the Attorney General highlighted a new
feature that alerts law enforcement to incidents of domestic
violence in criminal history records.  

Creating a National Instant Check System

     The Brady Act requires the Attorney General to replace the
current system of background checks conducted by local police
chiefs with a national instant check system by November 30, 1998. 
Reno stated that the Justice Department will meet the statutory
deadline for creating a national instant check system (NICS), but
that states must continue to actively participate in the
implementation process.  "State participation is vital" for they
instant check system to work effectively, Reno stated.  

Updating the Interim National Sex Offender Registry 

     In June of 1996, President Clinton directed the Attorney
General to develop a national sexual predator and child molester
registration system -- a computer that would, for the first time,
link together the sex offender registration and notification
systems being developed in all 50 States under Federal laws such as
the Wetterling Act.  The FBI's interim national sex offender
registry became operational in February of 1997. 

     "This new national computer registry will only be as good as
the quality of the data on sex offenders that it contains," Reno
said.  She called on the states "to ensure that accurate and up-to-date information on the whereabouts of sex offenders is timely
loaded into the system." 

Improving Criminal History Information

     Reno also called on the states to improve the quality,
accuracy, and timeliness of criminal history information.  Since
1994 the Department of Justice has distributed more than $112
million in grants for states to update their computerized criminal
history records.  "Up to date and readily accessible state data is
an essential component of the NICS system and we are depending on
you to continue your efforts in upgrading your state record
systems," Reno said.  

Computerized information on protective orders

     Reno announced that as of May 4, 1997, the National Criminal
Information Center (NCIC) has implemented a computerized file to
identify protection orders in criminal history records. 
"Protective orders aren't worth the paper on which they are printed
if local law enforcement officers don't know they exist," Reno
noted.  "At one time, lists could be typed up and kept over the
visor in cruisers in each city or town.  In our more mobile
society, both abusers and victims move around.  The only effective
way to track these orders is on computer."

     Reno noted that Federal law prohibits those subject to
domestic violence protection orders from possessing firearms. 
"Since so many domestic violence homicides are committed with
firearms, we've now got a real chance to prevent these terrible
crimes from occurring, not just counting them after they occur,"
she stated.