After first reports in April ( Ohio criminal records system flawed ) of the flaws in the Ohio criminal records and background check system it now appears more details have emerged. The Ohio background check system is there to screen foster parents, day care workers, teachers, police officers and private sector employees. As well as potentially violent individuals they may well encounter on a daily basis.
An audit of the system has been announced by the Ohio Attorney General. The background check system was found to be severely flawed towards the end of 2014. Around 100 individuals were found to have arrest records of which their employers were unaware of and that number may well grow. A period covering the previous 2 years is under scrutiny. The concerns are around 3,300 arrests involving some 1,650 employees and whether those employees were duly notified. This has been brought to light by The Columbus Dispatch.
The background check system required multiple upgrades and has been in service for over 15 years. The state has laid the blame at the door of 3M Cogent who are the Rapback system developer. The state point to the error in the software restricting search numbers to 300,000. Across an eleven month period the system omitted 80,000 background check searches. The error having been fixed in July.
However should the state have flagged the problems sooner. Employees within the state were raising concerns when the Rapback system was failing to flag applicants with questionable pasts. An investigation by a Columbus TV station and The Columbus Dispatch in November revealed complaints made by state employees over it’s integrity. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations which run 1.3 million background checks annually stated the system was on borrowed time.
The problems weren’t restricted to a technical nature. Almost 7% of convictions from county and municipal courts in 8 counties failed to be reported. This failure stretched over recent years. The attorney general’s office is now notifying 4 agencies. The Department of Public Safety, The Ohio Casino Control Commission, The Department of Education and The Department of Job and Family Services. The failings in the background check system is a reminder that efficiency can be no match for reliability. Employers who relied on the background check for job applicants and employees should be alert and scrutinize any background check reports they have from the state until such time as the system has been overhauled which isn’t expected until 2017.
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