SEARCH Holds March 11 Congressional Briefing on Criminal History Records
Congressional staff from both the House and Senate attended SEARCH briefings held March 11 on Capitol Hill to learn more about criminal history records and their use for noncriminal justice and civil purposes.
The briefing held in the House of Representatives was hosted by the House Judiciary Committee and in the Senate, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) was the honorary co-host. Three SEARCH governor-appointees to the SEARCH Membership, SEARCH staff, and two FBI officials participated in the panel sessions.
At the briefings, congressional staff learned how the rap sheet is accessed, shared, and used for decisions regarding employment, volunteer work, and work with vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and the disabled. They heard how the States and the FBI cooperatively exchange records for civil purposes, how the national system evolved, its governance via the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council, and the successes and challenges states have faced over the years.
“The briefing was an opportunity for staffers to better understand the background screening system that applies to tens of millions of job applicants and volunteers each year,” noted SEARCH Government Affairs Director Kelly Harbitter.
“Having our Members—who are the experts on criminal history record management, use, and exchange—share their real life operational experiences and expertise helped demystify the process. Having the current chair of the Compact Council, Ms. Dawn Peck (and past Chair Ms. Donna Uzzell), allowed us to emphasize the importance of the user-governed national body that Congress established many years ago to promulgate rules and regulations for sharing criminal records for civil purposes.”
Ms. Harbitter noted that the Congress is considering dozens of bills that address the use and management of the criminal history record for criminal and noncriminal justice purposes. These include bills that would require background screening for child care, preschool, and elementary school workers.
The briefing featured input from three SEARCH Members, all of whom have experience as state-level managers of criminal history record repositories–
- SEARCH Chair Francis X. Aumand III, Deputy Commissioner, Vermont Department of Public Safety
- Ms. Dawn Peck, Manager, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Idaho State Police
- Ms. Donna Uzzell, Director, Criminal Justice Information Services, Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
They were joined by FBI officials, Mr. Gary S. Barron, FBI Compact Officer, and Mr. Thomas Aldridge, Office of General Counsel Access Integrity Unit. SEARCH Law and Policy Director Owen M. Greenspan, also participated in the panel, while Ms. Harbitter facilitated the discussion.
Co-author, Public Domain Drug Court Software: Functions and Utility
Author, Supporting the Drug Court Process: What You Need to Know for Effective Decisionmaking and Program Evaluation
Contributor, Report of the National Focus Group on Identity Theft Victimization and Criminal Record Repository Operations
Contributor, Report of the National Focus Group on the Criminal Record Backgrounding of America
Co-author: Complete Criminal Histories—A Key Measure of Integration Success
Co-author, DNA Forensics: Expanding Uses and Information Sharing
Co-author, Guide to Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments for State and Local Information Sharing Initiatives
Co-author, Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012
Organizer/Moderator: National conference, “Beyond the Technology: The Law & Policy Implications of Biometric Use,” 2002
Organizer/Moderator: national Criminal History Operations Workshop, 2004, 2006
Organizer/Moderator: Workshop on Expanding Access to Criminal History Information and Improving Criminal Record Backgrounding, 2007
Organizer/Moderator: National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvement Amendments Act Conference, 2009
Presenter, National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council, 2010–2014
Presenter, FBI CJIS Advisory Policy Board, 2012–2014
FBI CJIS Identification Services Coordinating Group Criminal Justice Rap Back Committee
National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council Rap Back Task Force
FBI CJIS Division Disposition Reporting Task Force
FBI CMIS Advisory Policy Board Warrants Task Force
Joint Task Force on the Design and Utilization of an Interstate Criminal History Record
FBI work Group on the Implementation of the Brady Law
FBI National Fingerprint File Pilot Project Evaluation Group
National Focus Group on the Retention of Civil Fingerprints by Criminal Record Repositories
National Focus Group on Emergency Housing and Criminal Record Checks: The Hurricane Katrina Experience
National Task Force on Increasing the Utility of the Criminal History Record
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative: Privacy and Information Quality Working Group, and Privacy and Technology Focus Group