Clean records and new opportunities

Published 7:09 pm Sunday, October 8, 2017

The LaGrange Police Department and Troup County Sheriff’s Office will hold their first criminal records restriction day along with a job fair open to the public Saturday.

LaGrange Police Sgt. Marshall McCoy said the departments are restricting certain records so people can have better opportunities for employment. He said most employers check for applicants’ criminal records, and even if they were not convicted but were arrested, could prevent them from getting the job.

“The goal with record restriction is to help people find better employment,” McCoy said. “It just helps stop that stigma.”

Record restriction will not erase them, but will make them invisible to the public, he said.

“We will start calling [those who applied] next week and reminding them to be there Saturday. We will show them both print outs. We will show them the printout that I can see as a criminal justice professional, and then the one them and their employers can see. We’re going to show them the difference and explain to them how that process works,” he said. “It’s not a removal but it restricts it based on the legal requirements that they’re entitled to.”

McCoy said restriction requirements for criminal records are arrests with no conviction, misdemeanors committed before the person turned 21-years-old with no more arrests for five years. They could only be arrested by the LPD and TCSO.

While applying for criminal records can be restricted throughout the year, McCoy said the event next Saturday shortens the process for restricting them and is free.

“The key to this was is basically you didn’t have to go through the normal process. What normally would have happened, they would have gone online or by the police department, picked up the form, filled it out, they would have paid [a fee] they would have to apply for each one. They would turn it into us and then we would verify that there is a record and then we would give it back to them,” he said. “Basically, it was a process they did and there could be fees associated along the way. What we did was drop the fees and all they did was drop the application off to us.”

McCoy said the agencies received about 150 applicants and 180 records to be restricted.

Along with the event, there will also be a job fair open to all of the public that will have 17 employers at the William Griegs Center. McCoy said the separate event will also have 15 resource and service agencies available to the public, including Circles of Troup County.

“It’s open to the public whether you got your record restricted or not, we want them to come out and participate in the job fair,” he said. “We’ve also got several service agencies that are going to be there as well. Their purpose is to provide assistance in resume building or life skills, such as how to balance a checkbook.”

The William Griegs Recreation Center is located at 716 Glenn Robertson Drive and the events will be from 10 a. m. to 2 p.m.