The Missouri State Highway Patrol unveiled a new website granting the public access to criminal history checks in a matter of seconds.
“This is another example of the patrol using technology to more efficiently and conveniently serve the public,” MSHP Superintendent Col. Ron Replogle said in a news release.
In the past, people wishing to obtain name-based open record criminal background checks had mail a request and wait up to four weeks or request the records in person. As of Feb. 7, the whole process can be completed almost instantly.
“This is the same type of record check that has always been available to anyone,” MSHP spokesman Capt. Tim Hull said. “It’s the same process, but now instead of having to mail it or come in person, they can submit everything online.”
The Missouri Automated Criminal History Site will permit anyone to create an account. Once establishing an account, users can submit someone’s name, birthday or social security number and almost instantaneously receive all of the individual’s Missouri open record criminal history.
“It was created basically for technology and creating more efficiency,” Hull said. “It makes everything more convenient for the public.”
And the public has responded accordingly, Hull said.
“As of last Thursday it had quite a bit of traffic,” Hull said.
He said he expects the users of this product to be the same people who had to mail requests in the past.
“I don’t know if it will necessarily increase use,” Hull said, “but it will make it more convenient for people that do background checks routinely for people they hire or want to perform a background check.”
This service is not free; just like when a criminal record is requested in-person or via mail, a $10 fee will be charged. Customers will receive an additional convenience charge of $1 for the first three requests and all subsequent requests will be charged a percentage of the total transaction amount.
Upon receiving a request, the website will send the user a PDF file of the report.
The news release states the website will send the vast majority of requests within seconds but some requests might take up to five business days if MSHP employees have to research a court disposition or determine whether a record is open.
An open record includes convictions, arrests within 30 days, pending charges and suspended imposition of sentences during probation. Information will be updated daily.
“Some of the information is only for criminal justice agencies or law enforcement officers,” Hull said. “You won’t be able to obtain that information — you can only get information that has been deemed to be open record.”
Records can still be obtained through the mail or in-person.
“All of the other services are still available,” Hull said. “They can still mail it in if they want to, but it’s still going to take about two to four weeks. They can still come in-person, and those record checks in-person take about 30 minutes and you have to drive all the way to Jefferson City. This new process is more efficient and convenient.”