A number of ongoing issues with the Ohio state’s criminal records background check system have prompted considerations for it’s replacement. The system being a 3M Cogent criminal records biometric system. Operated by the BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation) over the past fifteen years and being plagued with problems. Thousands of criminals and felons have been confirmed as having clean records.

Thousands of records have been reviewed and the 3M criminal records system has been labelled as ‘cobbled together. Matching finger prints to convictions can often take months with some criminal records not arriving. However more alarming still is the system has, as a result of elusive conviction records and electronic fingerprints, thrown together thousands of inaccurate or incomplete background checks.

The criminal records background check system is called in to action every day by employers to establish the integrity of foster parents, fire fighters, medical professionals, nursing home and day care workers and, of course, police officers. Over the last three years there have been an embarrassing number of cases, due to system inaccuracies, where existing and potential employees have been confirmed by BCI as having no criminal records. In addition court clerks failings in submitting convictions for months to BCI (since 2013) have compounded the situation.

An investigation by WBNS in to county court and municipal records across eight counties revealed 6.6% of convictions (over 10,000) absent from the state system. A BCI supervisor in an email admitted the errors in the criminal records system meant that some felons will not have offenses on their record.

BCI officials demanded on April 6 asides from a credit of $6.2 million, that 3M Cogent provides 3 system engineers full time, a complete upgrade and rebuild by June 30th. 3M Cogent had been contacted by the Attorney General’s office advising they were in breach of contract. Further that the system was not available to BCI employees in 2014 for a total of 10,147 hours. The Attorney General’s office declined to comment on estimated costs for a replacement criminal records system.

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