Post should have explained why State House candidate’s arrest doesn’t appear in statewide crime database

The Denver Post reported Tuesday that GOP House candidate Rick Enstrom “does not have an arrest record, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation,” even though a Grand Junction Police report states that Enstrom was, in fact, “arrested for sale of drug paraphernalia.”

How could this be? How could Enstrom have been “arrested,” according to police in Grand Junction, and have no arrest record at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation?

The Post piece, written by Lynn Bartels, gave us no explanation, so I called the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to try to figure it out.

“Finger printing is the trigger for an arrest to be uploaded in our system,” said Susan Medina, spokeswoman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“You have to be physically processed through a police department where finger prints are taken,” she said.

This explains why Enstrom’s arrest doesn’t appear in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation database.

Enstrom was issued a summons and “released at the scene” of his 1985 arrest, according to Grand Junction police spokesperson Kate Porras.

“Because he wasn’t booked in a jail, we didn’t take finger prints,” Porras told me, adding that, as far as the Grand Junction police are concerned, Enstrom was arrested. She called Enstrom’s arrest a “non-custodial arrest,” because he wasn’t taken to jail.

“A Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check is not an end all,” Medina told me. “Our system just tells a piece of the story. If someone were issued a summons, it may be in a local jurisdiction’s database. To get into the statewide system, you need finger prints.”

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