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Passing more laws that restrict freedom not an effective way to avoid hiring criminals

Dear Editor:

I read your editorial about criminal background checks. I'm the fleet operations manager for a small petroleum distributor. We have 43 drivers with their hazmat endorsement. In the state we are in, I cannot acquire their driving record without my signing an affidavit that the record will only be used for the purposes of determining their qualification for employment purposes. I don't have the drivers acquire them from the local DMV because with a computer and a scanner, items can be easily deleted. When I get a DOT inquiry from another employer about a former employee, we only verify dates of employment, wage, position, and types of equipment driven.

Due to past court cases we do not make personal judgments on whether that person was a good, bad, or indifferent employee. If a company wants to know if an applicant had accidents or tickets, get the latest driving record abstract. Many other companies follow this same policy, as many of the inquiries I send out come back with the same information omitted.

Do I feel that these items hinder my ability to hire a qualified person? No, I feel that common sense and trusting your instincts is the best tool a supervisor can use. Yes, the federal government should be out there advising us, alerting us of problems, giving us guidelines to go by, but passing more laws taking away good citizens' rights is not the answer. If I and my fellow employees do our job, most of the criminal element won't be hired.

There will always be cases like the one reviewed in your editorial. If one of our trucks is hijacked even with GPS monitoring, a well-planned terrorist group could strike faster than the police could react. Freedom has never been — nor will it ever be — without risk. If we start to pass laws that take away the freedom of good citizens, then the terrorists have taken away something more valuable than our safety. Keep up the good editorials.
Craig Bailey
[email protected]

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