A review of law enforcement data-sharing found that Nevada is the only state not filing information about sex offenders with a nationwide FBI database.
Records about Nevada residents with protective orders against them for domestic violence, stalking or harassment also are not available from the FBI's National Crime Information Center, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday.
"The fear is that a Nevada sex offender would move to another state and try to get a job as a child care worker or something," said Daryl Riersgard, Criminal History Repository manager for the Nevada Department of Public Safety. "It's possible that the other state may not be able to find out that this person is a danger to children."
George Togliatti, state public safety director, blamed state budgetary constraints and said most of the records will be connected to the national database within a year. "We have such a need for the amount of money we don't have. It's challenging," Togliatti said.
Since Congress enacted the National Sex Offender Registry Act in 1998, all states except Nevada have hooked up sex-offender registries to the FBI Criminal Information Center, Riersgard said. Police and employers use the NCIC database for information on criminals.
"The thing that scares me is that Nevada sex offender (who) moves to a place like Colorado and they can't find him in the NSOR (National Sex Offender Registry)," Riersgard said. "That's when the liability slaps us in the face."
Suzie Carrillo, program manager for the Criminal History Repository, said the lack of information exchange can leave authorities in other states unaware of a Nevada resident prohibited by federal law from purchasing a gun.
Another problem is that hundreds of Nevada fingerprint files entered each month into the national database include misspelled names and inaccurate identification numbers, Carillo said.
Lynn Carrigan, manager at the Nevada Public Health Foundation, which lobbies the state Legislature on public-health issues and recently reviewed records at the Criminal History Repository, said the situation invites sex offenders to Nevada and lets them avoid attention in other states.
"Sex offenders ... know which areas are lax in monitoring, and they migrate to those states," Carrigan said. "With our (Nevada's) inability to report nationwide, we develop a reputation for being a good place for sex offenders to come because they don't have to worry about being put into a national database."
Togliatti said the Criminal History Repository is in the process of hiring additional personnel, and is installing new computers to let it enter data quicker and with fewer errors.
The department is also applying for a federal grant to connect the sex-offender registry.
The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division notified Nevada in October that it was not in compliance with standards required to participate in the Crime Information Center database. The letter didn't set deadlines for compliance.