LAS VEGAS (AP) — A southern Nevada judge says he can't understand why the Las Vegas police department has continued to withhold public records on sex trafficking cases and prostitution arrests requested by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday that the police department's lawyer Jackie Nichols argues that the department does not have the ability to search for records by criminal charge and that the information should be kept confidential for the officers' safety.

Clark County Judge Joe Hardy Jr. told Nichols Wednesday that her arguments do not qualify as evidence.

He says that the department's inactions have forced the newspaper to pursue a lawsuit and take on attorney fees and costs "it should have never incurred."

He says the department needs to take its obligations seriously.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com