CalGang® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following are a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and responses regarding the CalGang® database. If you have specific questions or comments that are not listed on the FAQ, please contact us at CalGang@doj.ca.gov.
The objective of the CalGang database is to provide law enforcement agencies with an accurate, timely, and electronically-generated database of statewide gang-related intelligence information. All records and information contained in the CalGang database are confidential and are for the use of law enforcement agencies only, as defined in Penal Code section 186.34(a)(3).
The CalGang® system operates pursuant to the United States Code of Federal Regulations, title 28, section 23 (28CFR23), ad seq. as a Criminal Intelligence System.
Effective January 1, 2018, Chapter 695, Statutes of 2017, the Fair and Accurate Gang Database Act of 2017, required the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to administer and oversee the CalGang® database.
CalGang® is not available to all law enforcement agencies or personnel. Only approved and trained law enforcement officers and support staff may access CalGang® information. Access and release of CalGang® Criminal Intelligence Information is on a Right-to-Know (A Law Enforcement Officer and Support Staff) and Need-to-Know (Legitimate Law Enforcement Purpose) basis only.
There are circumstances where approved users may run proxy queries on behalf of other users who demonstrate a need-to-know and right-to-know, but there are restrictions on the number of times this may occur in a given year.
For the most recent version of these regulations, please visit https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/bciis/ch7-5-proposed-text.pdf.
Records contained in the CalGang® database are not disclosed or released for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law, unless required by California state or federal statute or regulation.
In addition, information contained in the CalGang® database is not disclosed or released under any of the following circumstances:
- For employment, housing, or military screening purposes.
- For non-criminal internal affairs investigations.
- To the members of the general public or media.
- To another person who does not have a Right-to-Know and Need-to-Know.
- In any official reports.
A suspected gang member or a suspected gang associate may initially be entered into the CalGang® database and designated as a gang member or a gang associate if a minimum of two unique criteria* are found to exist through investigation by a trained law enforcement officer, and not without a law enforcement agency’s reasonable suspicion, provided the gang’s existence has been, or is concurrently, documented in the database.
All criteria must be supported by lawfully obtained source documents. Examples of source documents may include, but are not limited to, arrest reports, field interview cards, photographs, and jail records.
All proposed entries made in CalGang®, and related intelligence data, must be reviewed and approved through a supervisory review process.
*A detailed list of criteria can be found within the Proposed California Code of Regulations:
You, or an attorney working on your behalf, may submit a written request to any local law enforcement agency to determine if you are listed in the CalGang® database.
The law enforcement agency will provide details regarding whether you are designated in CalGang® and the name of the law enforcement agency that made the designation. If you are a juvenile person under 18 years of age, your parent or guardian or an attorney working on your behalf may submit a written request.
Please note, if responding to an information request from either an adult or a juvenile would compromise an active investigation or the health and safety of a juvenile who is designated as a Gang Member or Associate in the CalGang® database, the law enforcement agency that received the request is not required to provide a response.
The DOJ has created a “Sample Information Request” to provide an example of what you or an attorney working on your behalf may submit to your local law enforcement agency. The sample is available for download: Sample Information Request, pdf.
Not all law enforcement agencies participate in CalGang®. Please refer to the most recent “Attorney General’s Annual Report on CalGang” for a list of CalGang® law enforcement agencies: https://oag.ca.gov/calgang/reports. If you have further questions regarding whether your local law enforcement agency participates in CalGang®, please contact us at CalGang@doj.ca.gov.
If you, your parent or guardian if you are a juvenile, or an attorney working on your behalf, have received written notice from a law enforcement agency that you are designated in the CalGang® database, you, your parent or guardian if you are a juvenile, or your attorney, may submit a written request to contest your designation in CalGang®. This written request must be submitted to the appropriate (designating) law enforcement agency.
Please note, the local law enforcement agency will provide a written response within 30 days of the submission of your request for removal. If the law enforcement agency denies your request for removal, their response will include the reason for the denial. If the law enforcement agency does not provide a response within a 30-day period, the request for removal from CalGang® should be considered denied.
Any person who has contested their inclusion into the CalGang® database and was denied request to be removed by the law enforcement agency, may file a petition with the superior court to review the law enforcement agency’s denial of their request and to order the law enforcement agency to remove the person from CalGang®.
**If the law enforcement agency does not provide a verification of the agency’s decision within the required 30-day period, the request to remove the person from the gang database shall be deemed denied. You may file a petition with the superior court to review the law enforcement agency’s denial of their request and to order the law enforcement agency to remove the person from CalGang.
The petition may be brought by the person, by their parent or guardian if the person is a juvenile, or an attorney on behalf of the person, parent or guardian. Consult your county court’s Self-Help Center for more information regarding how to file a petition with your county’s superior court. For a listing of Self-Help Centers by county, visit:
The record of a person designated in the CalGang® database will be retained for up to five years. Upon termination of the retention period, the record will be automatically purged from the database.
Please note, prior to their purge date, if a minimum of one additional criterion is added to a person’s record in the CalGang® database pursuant to regulations, the five year retention period will be reset.
**Once the regulations have been approved, the following changes will occur:
- The record of a person 18 years of age or older will be retained in the CalGang® database for up to five years. Upon termination of the retention period, the record will be automatically purged from the database.
- A juvenile’s record will be retained in the CalGang® database for up to three years. Upon termination of the retention period, the record will be automatically purged.
- Prior to their purge date, if a minimum of two additional criteria is added to a person’s record in the CalGang® database pursuant to regulations, their retention period will be reset (five year retention for adults and three year retention for juveniles).
In accordance with Assembly Bill 90, the DOJ shall not use these regulations to invalidate previous data entries entered prior to the adoption of those regulations. Reference: §186.36, Penal Code.
In addition, any new criteria added to current CalGang records must be entered according to these new regulations.
If you suspect a User, User Agency, and/or Node Agency of violating any law governing the CalGang database, including these regulations, please contact us at the following:
Department of Justice
ATTN: CalGang Unit
PO Box 160968
Sacramento, CA 95816-0968
Per Chapter 695, Statutes of 2017, the Fair and Accurate Gang Database Act of 2017, the DOJ has responsibility for overseeing and administering the CalGang database. However, the DOJ is responsible for promulgating regulations governing the use, operation, and oversight of any shared gang database. In addition, the DOJ may enforce a violation of state, federal or regulation with respect to a shared gang database or a regulation, policy, or procedure established by the department.