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LPD offers a clean slate

The LaGrange Police Department will hold a criminal record restriction day on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The restriction day will let citizens with a history of arrests with no convictions or misdemeanors before they were 21 years old and no more arrests for five years expunge the records from the private sector. The police department is accepting applications for criminal record restrictions until Sept. 14.

Sgt. Marshall McCoy said the day will help anyone looking for a job that has a criminal record that their potential employer will find during a criminal record search.

“It hurts them from trying to get a good job,” McCoy said. “The purpose is to give them that true second chance.”

The restriction will still keep the records for law enforcement. However, civilians, such as employers, will not be able to access them while doing background checks.

“Can law enforcement still see it? Yes. Can private citizens see it? No,” McCoy said. “we’re restricting those records from employers and people doing background checks so that the people get the true second chance they are, number one, entitled to by law, and, number two, that they deserve.”

The restriction day will not hide important records from the public.

“We’re not hiding things from the public that may affect them. That stuff is not hidden. We’re only restricting those records that we either dismissed, not guilty or never prosecuted,” McCoy said.

Arrests that will be restricted are only ones that were processed by the LaGrange Police Department or the Troup County Sheriff’s office

“We can only restrict the records that we did, if someone was arrested in Hogansville, we can’t restrict that record,” he said. “We can only do our own arrests is because we have to go to our own courts.”

The first 300 applications for record restrictions will be accepted. McCoy said the department is taking what they can handle so far.

“We would like to do some more down the road,” he said.

A citizen’s criminal history only exists if they were fingerprinted after they were arrested. McCoy said a problem with these cases is that they are processed slowly.

“For there to be a criminal record, you have to do more than just go to jail. You have to be arrested, you gave to go to jail but then you have to be fingerprinted. If there are no fingerprints, there is no criminal history,” McCoy said. “Some cases go to court in a matter of weeks, other cases may take years.”

Another problem with trying to restrict records manually is paying the fees from arresting agencies. McCoy said the restriction day will waive those fees for participants.

“There could be a processing fee that arresting agencies charge and there may be a fee that the other prosecuting agencies charge, the prosecutors or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation charge, they have come together to waive those fees which helps because if you’re having a hard time trying to get a job, a decent paying job, you need your criminal record restricted,” McCoy said. “Not only do you have to get those records restricted, you have to pay a fee and then you have to take it from place to place to place. Basically we’ve cut out all of that.”

McCoy said those with restricted records will still have to answer job applications truthfully.

“Most applications have removed the section of ‘have you been arrested’ to ‘have you been convicted.’ Of course the answer is ‘no’ in these cases. They’ll ask you if you’ve been convicted and then get you a waiver to verify so you’ll check ‘no’ and when they go to get it, nothing would show up,” he said

The event will also have a job fair open to the public.

“Not only on this day are we doing the record restriction but we’re also looking to do a job fair on that day too. It would be a separate thing, it is open to the public,” McCoy said.

McCoy said the registration is not only for those applying for jobs or housing.

“I had some older people apply, and for some it’s a matter of pride. We’re talking about records from years upon years ago, they’re certainly not [applying] for a job,” he said.

The restriction day will be held at the Griggs Recreation Center on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Applications are available at the LaGrange Police Department, Troup County Jail and on the police department’s website.