11 Feb Failed Criminal Justice System Makes Background Checks a Necessity
I have been planning to launch an SHS blog for many months, jotting down possible topics on post-it notes for a blog that is relevant, informative and fun to read. The world simply does not need another self promoting blog. I want our blog to be a place we interact and exchange valuable background screening information that is critical to keeping all of us safe.
Early on the morning of January 24, 2011 I was driving to the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Academy to speak to a group of 100 new police officers and I heard on the radio that an Indianapolis Police Officer had been shot on a routine traffic stop and was not expected to survive. The young officer, David Moore, 29, was shot four times by Thomas X. Hardy a 60 year old career criminal and current parolee who had spent nineteen of the past twenty-seven years in prison. As recent as November 2010 Hardy had violated the terms of his parole by being arrested for theft. Unfortunately for Officer Moore the arrest went unnoticed by Hardy’s parole officer and left him on the streets to evolve from a career non-violent offender to a murderer.
The news of Officer Moore being shot was a reminder for me of how dangerous being a police officer is. As I prepared to speak to these young, idealistic new police officers it provided a reality check as a former police officer who comes from a long line of police officers including my grandfather, my dad, my wife, my brother and a cousin. As I walked through the doors of the Law Enforcement Academy I knew the first SHS blog needed touch upon the failures of the criminal justice system and how that impacts protecting our clients from the Thomas Hardy’s of the world.
The criminal justice system failed Officer David Moore and gave me flashbacks to my days as a violent crime detective in Nashville, TN . The same criminal justice system failed me on May 17, 1996 when a friend and fellow Nashville Police Officer Paul Scurry was killed while attempting to arrest a fugitive I had been tracking. Paul, husband and father, was killed by a man that had only weeks before pulled a sawed-off shotgun and pistol on me and my two partners as we attempted to arrest him for kidnapping and locking his ex-girlfriend in the trunk of his car. This man, like Hardy, was a career offender who was out of prison on parole.
I wish I could tell you that these two examples are an oddity but unfortunately they are the norm. We have convicted sex offenders roaming our parks and playgrounds scouting for victims. Violent predators on the prowl for our children. And more than half of these convicted sex offenders are not living where they are registered and parole officers have no idea.
I left the Nashville Police Department in 1997 after helping develop and implement the largest police-based family violence prevention program in the U.S. We had itemized our system failures in Nashville and recognized we had to change the way the police department was doing business. Annually, 25 women and children were killed in Nashville by someone who claimed to love them. We implemented sweeping changes and watched as the number of women and children killed dropped by more than 50%. The system in Nashville responded and started keeping its promise to victims to serve and protect.
I took our model from Nashville and packed it in my briefcase and began traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe educating communities, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security, encouraging adoption of a model for preventing violence instead of responding to violence. Responding to an incident as a police officer or business owner is reactionary. Prevention, like quality employment screening, is proactive.
As I traveled the U.S. I heard over and over from organizations that they needed help conducting quality background checks. They were frustrated because they were hiring violent offenders who had been cleared by their current background screening process.
I studied the background screening industry like I had studied the domestic homicide epidemic in Nashville. What I found shocked and frightened me. I found organizations that were ( and still are) relying upon cheap criminal database searches which are terribly incomplete (more coming in future blogs). I noticed that the background screening industry was highly unregulated and provided a very low quality product. I learned that background screening was more a commodity and driven by profit than a process to ensure safety. I also realized I was analyzing the industry through the eyes of a detective and someone who had seen the death and destruction perpetrated by violent offenders
I formed Safe Hiring Solutions as a viable and affordable solution for organizations that choose to do background screening correctly and want to keep their organizations safe. We approach background screening as a moral issue and not from a legal threshold argument which is only concerned with protecting the organization from lawsuits. Our mission statement is simple: Safe Hiring Solutions exists to keep you and your organization safe. And we take this very seriously as nearly everybody that works at Safe Hiring Solutions has a child or grandchild in a school or church that we provide background screening for. Our families rely on our services.
We hope you will tune in each week as we add a blog post to address issues within the background screening industry, legal issues that our attorney will address, introduce products or services that you might consider and we will begin to introduce the staff of Safe Hiring Solutions so you can know who is working on this end to keep you safe. I promise the posts will be short, relevant and informative.