Why do I need a county criminal background check when our package includes a National Criminal Database Search? If it is a question you have not asked it is certainly one that has caused you to scratch your head and contemplate. While launching Safe Hiring Solutions in 2004, I was searching for a solution to the criminal database search that was failing so many organizations. I realized that the majority of the criminals who slipped through the cracks would be exposed if we went directly to the source and that was the county courts.
No criminal database, including the FBI’s NCIC, contains ALL criminal records and dispositions. Databases are only as good as the data they receive and if the courts or law enforcement agencies are not consistent in their participation then large gaps develop.
If your organization is relying on a background screening program to make informed hiring, volunteer or contractual decisions then you need to be confident you are making decisions based on accurate data.
Here are the 5 reasons you need to have a county criminal background check as part of your screening program:
- Criminal databases are incomplete
- Criminal databases lack dispositions
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act REQUIRES the use of up-to-date information
- The county courts are a true repository of criminal records
- County criminal searches provide case updates like dismissals, expungements, charge reductions, etc.
We recommend a county criminal background check in all counties of current and past residence for a minimum of 10 years. Also keep in mind that not all county criminal searches are the same. Some background screening firms use “stored data” which does NOT comply with the FCRA.
The scope of the search is also an important aspect of the county search because the background screening industry often operates on a 7 year rule meaning they only report records for a 7 year period.
And finally you need to know if your county criminal background check includes AKA’s and other names. If not, your organization runs the risk of missing criminal records.
So the takeaway is the county criminal background check is not a screening program but a critical component of the background screening package. The county search can be illustrated as a mile deep but only an inch wide because it is a search of an individual county and there are more than 3100 U.S. counties. For this reason we pair the County Criminal Search with the National Criminal Database Search which is a mile wide but an inch deep because it only receives partial data from each state.
The County Criminal Search and the National Criminal Database Search provide a criminal history check that is a mile wide AND a mile deep.
If you would like a FREE review your background screening program, please click here.
Do you have questions about the importance of the county criminal background check?