TxGANG DPS’ Gang and Gang Member Data Repository
What is TxGang? A statewide repository of records related to criminal gangs and criminal street gang members. TxGang was mandated by the Texas Legislature in 1999, to encourage and expedite the exchange of criminal intelligence information between and among law enforcement agencies.
Art. 61.03. (c) If a local law enforcement agency compiles and maintains information under this chapter relating to a criminal street gang, the agency shall send the information to the department. (d) The department shall establish an intelligence database and shall maintain information received from an agency under Subsection (c) in the database in accordance with the policies established under 28 C.F.R. Section 23.1 et seq. and the submission criteria under Article 61.02(c).
What is the difference between TxGang, TAGIT and the Gang Resource System? • TxGANG—Database created by the Texas Department of Public Safety containing offender information for gang members, both juveniles and adults, who are IN THE FREE WORLD(may or may not have been incarcerated in TDCJ). This information is maintained by the individual law enforcement agencies. • TAGIT– TEXAS ANTI-GANG INFORMATION TRACKING SYSTEM is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) database which contains information on offendersincarcerated or previously incarcerated at a TDCJ facility that have been suspected or confirmed of being affiliated with aSecurity Threat Group. Records may also contain a photo of the offender and a visitor’s list, which can help identify family and associates. • Gang Resource System (GRS) - Database maintained by the Attorney General’s Office that provides general information such as gang name, gang identifiers (e.g., colors used, tattoos, clothing preferences), criminal activities, migration trends, recruitment activities, and a local law enforcement contact specific to the various cities throughout Texas.
Gang Database Requirements from 81st Legislative session Gang Intelligence Database • Requires counties with a population of 100,000 or more and cities with a population of 50,000 or more to compile and maintain a local/regional gang database. This requires virtually every geographical area in Texas to monitor and record gangs and gang members as well as report that information to TxDPS. • Requires CFR training for all who input or retrieve info every 2 years.
Who can access TXGANG? • “Criminal Justice Agency” representatives of: Afederal or state agencythat is engaged in the administration of criminal justice; or Amunicipal or county agency, or school district law enforcement agency, that is engaged in the administration of criminal justice; or A non-gov’t railroad or campus police department with an originating agency identifier (ORI)issued by the FBI.
For access to TxGang, send an email to TxGang@dps.texas.gov and one of the site administrators will help your agency get set up.
Approval for access to TxGang • AnAgency Agreementmust be completed, signed by your agency administrator, and on file at TxDPS Crime Records ~one per agency. • Anapplication for accessto TxGang must be completedby each individualrequesting access. Each person requesting access to TxGang automatically receives the application via email.
TxGang Governed by 28 CFR Part 23, a Federal regulation which sets guidelines to protect the privacy rights of individuals by requiring “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity AND submission criteria. * http://www.iir.com/28cfr/laymensguide.htm A TxGang record must be supported by documentation, a report that contains: a) Information relevant to an identification of an organization that is reasonably suspected of involvement in criminal activity AND b) Consists of entry criteria defined in the Texas Criminal Code of Procedure, Chapter 61. *No record may be submitted if the information was obtained illegally.
Under TX CCP 61.02(c)(2), potential gang members must meet a standard of observed criteria before they are entered into TxGang. • Each of the separate criteria is given a different weight based on type and circumstance, and while some are sufficient to enter a gang member into TxGang on their own, most must be used in conjunction with either one or two other criteria to meet the requirements laid out in the law. • The easiest way to think about this is to assign each criterion a point value. • A total of 3 points is required to enter a potential gang member into the database, at which point they are “confirmed” as a gang member.
TxGang tracks the criteria combination requirements for the user, so the points only need to be kept up with in order to know if a gang member is ready to be entered into the database. • The system will not let a user enter a gang member who doesn’t meet the requirements laid out in 61 CCP.
Status of TxGang • TxGang is in it’s third incarnation since 1999. • Each revision has been an attempt to make the database more relevant and user friendly. • TxGang has always been free for any criminal justice agency to use. • Features of the current system: • Over 3,200 defined gangs; • 34,000+ confirmed gang members; • definitive search options; • mapping links using GoogleMaps; • automatic gang member linking to the TxDPS computerized criminal history records (rap sheet); and • ability to customize agency accounts to internal needs.
EXPIRATIONS • Expirations in TxGang are handled by the database, and are based on 61.06 and 61.07 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. • Adults expire after 5 years. The clock stops if they are incarcerated during that time and begins again after they are released. • Juveniles expire after 2 years. • The TxGang database handles this automatically, and will notify users via email that one of their gang members is about to expire.
Ownership of Records in TxGang • Under 28 CFR and 61 CCP, records entered in TxGang are owned and maintained by the entering agency. • Any agency may view any record entered in TxGang. • No agency may edit another agency’s record in TxGang. • Any agency that picks up a gang member previously entered in TxGang by another agency will need to create a NEW TxGang record for that gang member. • This will allow them to “own” and edit their own record for that gang member.
Ownership of Records in TxGang - Continued • Due to this rule, it is not uncommon for gang members who move around to be documented by multiple agencies. • This results in duplicate records in TxGang. • Benefits to this include knowledge of some of the gang members movement, awareness of interaction that the gang member may have had with other agencies, and methods of contacting the officers at the other agencies.