Over 200 benefit from Criminal Restriction Day

Published 7:24 pm Friday, March 29, 2019

The LaGrange Police Department and Troup County Sheriff’s Office put on a Criminal Records Restriction Day on Tuesday, allowing qualified individuals to streamline the process of restricting their eligible criminal records in order to more effectively seek employment. Between the LPD and the TCSO, 213 people were able to restrict their criminal records.

“We had a good turnout,” LPD Sgt. Marshall McCoy said. “Between us and the county we worked with 213 people as far as their records go. The LPD did 183 [restrictions], the county did 30. The kicker to this is not all of them were needing jobs, some were in jobs but couldn’t get a better job because of what was showing on their record.”

Criminal record restriction is not open to everyone, and individuals’ records must meet a set of criteria to be eligible for restriction. For the event held Tuesday, criminal records could be restricted if:

4Individuals had been arrested by the LPD or TCSO.

4Individuals had not been convicted at trial or pled nolo contendre

4Individuals had completed a pre-trial intervention (PTI)/diversion program

4Individuals’ cases had been deemed any of the following: dead docketed, declined to prosecute, dismissed, pre-trial intervention (PTI), no billed, nolle prossed, not guilty verdict, or pardoned

“For whatever reason, if a case is not prosecuted, that stays on your record,” McCoy said.

“If you’re going to apply for a job and you’re up against someone who looks like you, has the same education, the only difference is that criminal history, who do you think is going to get hired? The person with no history is going to get the benefit of the doubt with employers.”

Normally, the process to complete the paperwork to restrict a record is cumbersome and costs money at every turn. The record restriction day allowed individuals the opportunity to complete the process with no fees associated with it, and allows for increased efficiency, as the law enforcement agencies assist in helping the paperwork get where it needs to go.

“You can imagine if you’re not really familiar with the system how difficult it can be,” McCoy said. 

This was the second such record restriction day that law enforcement had orchestrated, and there was an increased turnout this time around. Additionally, a free job fair was taking place simultaneously as part of the day as well. Businesses such as WalMart, Kimble’s Sewon, GDOT, Great Wolf Lodge, Point University and Mando all had a presence at the job fair, taking applications and making connections.

The response to the record restriction event in both cases has for individuals to be overcome with emotion, sometimes crying from joy, McCoy shared.

In the end, the LPD and the TCSO put this event on with a focus on the long-term.

“The police department believes that the more we can help the community become stronger, the more people are working and are actively looking for work, the better community we have,” McCoy said. “The communities that don’t have jobs lend themselves more to crime.”

In addition to the LPD and TCSO, other agencies taking part included the Troup County Clerk of Court, Troup County District Attorney’s Office, Troup County Solicitor, Troup County State Court, Coweta Judicial Superior Court, City of LaGrange, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

If anyone missed this event and would like to participate in the record restriction process, please contact LPD Sgt. Marshall McCoy at mmccoy@lagrangega.org or (706) 883-2642.