Glitch means Ohio employers missed alerts on worker arrests

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s system for notifying certain public and private employers about workers’ arrests missed at least 100 notifications over the last two years because of a long-undetected problem in the state’s criminal background system, Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

The state’s “Rapback” system, which notifies participating public and private employers when employees are arrested, failed to detect offenses among about 80,000 employees from mid-2013 to July 13. So far, officials have found 106 instances in which employees were not notified of an employee’s arrest or conviction and DeWine told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1SZcFMf ) on Monday he expects that number to grow.

School teachers, bus drivers, foster parents and home health care workers are among those enrolled in the program. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation is reviewing whether employers were alerted about the arrests of more than 1,600 enrolled employees during the past two years.

A list of employers who were notified of employee arrests beginning on Monday wasn’t immediately available from DeWine.

The state Department of Education spends about $1.4 million a year to be a part of the program so it can be alerted when any of its 284,000 teachers is charged with a felony or serious misdemeanor.

DeWine said the system failed because software changes weren’t implemented in 2013 to add the names to the list of about 300,000 people already in the database.

DeWine faulted 3M Cogent, a California-based state contractor, for failing to enact the software changes in the system.

“We thought it was turned on,” DeWine said. “It’s not clear why it didn’t happen.”

A spokeswoman for the company said it took “immediate corrective steps” and is working “around the clock to verify that all former queries are accounted for and will immediately report any inconsistencies to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.”

DeWine has since taken the first steps to buy a new criminal background system while demanding improvements from 3M Cogent.

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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