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  • Criminal BG checks

    Just a question on whether or not a LEO can conduct a criminal background check on anyone they meet (whether the officer is on or off duty)? Are these checks documented and a purpose stated? I only ask because my friend is dating a police officer and he ran her through the database and found she had traffic infractions. ( I say good intel work by the cop, at least he knows whos gonna be driving them to the movies ). If it helps, I live in NY. If any case law applies, that would be helpful as well.

    With respect,
    Leeza

  • #2
    It is routine provided it's within a work capacity. I'm not about to burn the guy because frankly I have no idea what policies NY cops fall under.

    I do however see some ethical issues with this.

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    • #3
      Criminal Background Checks

      Running of such checks should be governed by individual agency policy. As a very general rule, the running of a Check for Criminal History should be approved by a supervisor, and should be for a legitimate investigative need. The FBI manages the basic NCIC System, and has incorporated many procedural safeguards/protocols to prevent, or at least, minimize any improper use of the system. Additionally, the administrators of the system at state and department level, also incorporate protocols that complement and enhance the basic protocols established by the FBI.

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      • #4
        Using LEADS in Ohio for non-business material is a crime and you can be sent to prison(I've seen it).

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        • #5
          There are several databases that hold personal informayion in New York State. one of whichis the DMV. Access to the databases is not criminal but using the information improperly may be. Did the cop run your friend as a favor? Then he might be subject to departmental discipline, but I doubt any criminal infraction was committed.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dinosaur32
            There are several databases that hold personal informayion in New York State. one of whichis the DMV. Access to the databases is not criminal but using the information improperly may be. Did the cop run your friend as a favor? Then he might be subject to departmental discipline, but I doubt any criminal infraction was committed.
            As far as I know he ran her for his own personal reference. If the rule of thumb that PhilipCal pointed out holds ground in NYS, then he may have gone through his sergeant (or another supervisor) to get the information as well. The relationship between himself and his coworkers/supervisors is unknown to me.

            Thank you all for the timely responses by the way.

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            • #7
              If the inquiry is made into NCIC, which most all of them are, and there is no legitimate and authorized investigative purpose, the act is a federal felony which the FBI will go after every time. The FBI has no sense of humor about this sort of thing. Every couple of years there seems to be a story about how one or more officers/clerks/dispatchers with access to the network gets taken down and sent to prison for misuse of the system. Many cops (including me, at one time) think the criminal justice databases are their personal toy. But every inquiry is logged, usually in multiple places, and if someone makes a complaint, it's pretty easy to check and see when and where their name was run, and by who. That's when the wheels start turning.
              Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tim Dees
                If the inquiry is made into NCIC, which most all of them are, and there is no legitimate and authorized investigative purpose, the act is a federal felony which the FBI will go after every time. The FBI has no sense of humor about this sort of thing. Every couple of years there seems to be a story about how one or more officers/clerks/dispatchers with access to the network gets taken down and sent to prison for misuse of the system. Many cops (including me, at one time) think the criminal justice databases are their personal toy. But every inquiry is logged, usually in multiple places, and if someone makes a complaint, it's pretty easy to check and see when and where their name was run, and by who. That's when the wheels start turning.

                I agree with this but wanted to add one thing. In Maryland, ANYONE can do a case search through our District Court cases which include criminal and traffic. A lot of information is public record and are published freely by court systems. NY may very well have such a system in place and that is where he got the traffic information from. Many other states have this as well and I use it frequently to look up my own cases and people that I come into contact with both through work as well as my personal life.

                In regards to our MILES/NCIC usage, we are required to fill out a form that includes a case number (showing we are doing an active investigation) and it has to be signed off on a supervisor.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Running someone for personal reasons is a big no-no here. I know for certain people have gotten the axe for it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Taylor1430
                    I agree with this but wanted to add one thing. In Maryland, ANYONE can do a case search through our District Court cases which include criminal and traffic. A lot of information is public record and are published freely by court systems. NY may very well have such a system in place and that is where he got the traffic information from. Many other states have this as well and I use it frequently to look up my own cases and people that I come into contact with both through work as well as my personal life.
                    Looking through local databases is another matter entirely. The private (and completely lawful) background search services employ stringers throughout the country that visit local courthouses to search records, either by hand or via a computer terminal or request form. Court records are public information, available to anyone. Searching a national automated database where all these records are consolidated is another thing entirely.
                    Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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                    • #11
                      On resource that is available legally though is the PA State Police Web site. Through the site ANYONE can pay $10 and submit a criminal background check. I know in the past I have used this service and it is very fast, reliable and doesn't put my job/pension at risk.

                      When entering into a new relationship it's nice to know the other person isn't a fugitive or have a criminal history.
                      "The statements and opinions contained in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Commission regarding these issues."
                      ____________________________________
                      http://www.danielfaulkner.com
                      Justice for Officer Daniel Faulkner
                      ____________________________________
                      09/11/2001 Never Forget

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                      • #12
                        Running a driver's license number normally will also bring up the driving history. This does not normally throw up a bunch of red flags unless there is excessive use. This information we can run from our MDTs and it is just about as common as running license tag information. Running a criminal history through NCIC is a different story. In Tennessee, all LE agencies who run a true NCIC background check including federal and state files has to log it manually and document the reason. In turn the TBI audits every LE agency in the state of TN annually.
                        I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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                        • #13
                          NY has a very comprehensive criminal background database through the Division of Criminal Justice Services. The information on convictions and open cases is public. It is a crime to sell such information, the courts and PDs can and do charge for the info. DMV has separate database with same restrictions, which would show traffic tickets on her driving abstract. I can be audited by DMV for running checks through the database....so I must keep a record of each search.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If I am interpreting all of this correctly, the officer may or may not have been justified in his inquiry on his girlfriend depending on the database he used and his dept policy (I will withhold the dept name, which in effect will probably prevent me from obtaining the true answer on whether or not it was officially right or wrong).

                            Being a Law Enforcement major, this is all extremely helpful in my understanding of the "paper and administrative" side of LE and I greatly appreciate all the information you guys have provided me with. I have studied most of these databases before (including the NCIC) but was not told about the consequences of misuse, only their functions.

                            Thanks again,
                            Leeza

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Since the NY databases are so easily addressed, most departments have imposed regulations against personal use. I am not permitted, and would, run a plate to check on a car parked in front of a fellow officer's home. Your friend's officer most likely violated a departmental policy.

                              Comment

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