TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators John A. Girgenti and Nicholas Sacco, which would extend the law and allow more New Jersey law enforcement officers to access juvenile records, was approved by the full Assembly today.
“The additional access to a juvenile’s record will help the law enforcement officers throughout the State prevent and solve more crimes that are committed by those under 18,” said Senator Girgenti, Chairman of the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee. “The more information that officers have on the history of a juvenile who committed a crime, the better equipped they are to handle the situation accurately and compassionately. Neighboring municipalities need access to the juvenile records of nearby communities so that they can properly investigate crimes and check into juvenile offenses that occur.”
The bill, S-534, would provide law enforcement agencies access to a central registry of juveniles who have been involved in the justice system. The officers would be allowed to search through social, medical, psychological and legal records relating to juvenile offenders.
Senator Girgenti noted that under current law, law enforcement agencies have only limited access to juvenile information.
“When someone under the age of 18 is charged with an offense, the information is disclosed only to a law enforcement agency if they investigated the offense, filed the complaint or if the juvenile lives in the jurisdiction of the police station,” said Senator Sacco, D-Hudson and Bergen.
Senator Sacco stated that, “In order to better protect the public, it’s important for law enforcement agencies that review applications for gun permits to have access to juvenile information so they can determine if there was a conviction.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for enactment.