How Did the Texas DPS Lose These Dangerous Offenders?
An October 2008 study conducted by Imperative reveals the dangerous shortcomings in the Texas DPS’ Computerized Criminal History database.
We searched DPS’ records for 562 known criminal cases that ended in criminal convictions or deferred adjudication agreements. DPS was missing 36% of the criminal records used in our sample. These offenses ranged from simple theft by check convictions to capital murder.
This study reveals that organizations who rely on Texas DPS’ data, or so-called national databases based on the data, have a one in three chance of missing serious criminal convictions. In addition, the database withholds cases that ended in dismissals, even though employers can often use this information in making hiring decisions.
Organizations concerned about providing a safe environment should conduct thorough criminal background checks that include searches of the criminal records of each county in which an individual has lived, worked, or attended school. State and “national” databases should never be utilized as reliable sources of criminal record history.