Police run workshop to help qualified offenders clean their slates

Police run workshop to help qualified offenders clean their slates

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Writing a bad check, shoplifting or having being charged with simple assault. These are offenses that can lead to starting a criminal record and may hold you back from getting a job or obtaining credit. Friday, the North Charleston Police department held a workshop for the community to learn how, and if, they can clear their records and move on with their lives.

"We'll check it out once we do the background check and then we'll give you a call back," said Shrieka Bullock, who is repeating a line she's heard countless times at job interviews. "But you never get a call back."

Bullock has been interviewing for positions as a medical assistant over the last few years and still hasn't gotten her dream job because of her record.

"I think personally it's holding me back from getting a job," she said.

Bullock said she made a mistake in 2006 that she is still paying for today.

"It's a headache," said Bullock. "It's very stressful especially when you have two small kids at home and you have a family and bills to pay. You're trying to get jobs here and there and it's just hard."

But Bullock says she's not giving up.

The mother of two attended a workshop, along with 60 other people from the community, held by the North Charleston Police Department to see if her record can be cleared.

"I'm just here to find out answers," said Bullock.

But for some the information provided by police and volunteers with the 9th circuit Solicitor's Office may not even be an option.

"This is really a program that's geared toward people who have one conviction on their record or one blemish that they're trying to get off," said assistant Solicitor Jennifer McCoy. "It's not really geared toward your repeat offenders."

Or those carrying felonies on their records.

McCoy said a majority of those that can be helped have committed minor offenses like shoplifting, writing a bad check or committing simple assault.

Bullock falls into that category and is working hard to get out of it.

"I want to push myself to go higher," she said. "It's hard doing that if you can't get a job because you've got something on your background that's stopping you."

McCoy says the expungement process, or record clearing, takes place in every county in South Carolina. In Charleston county, those already awaiting word of a clean slate can follow the process online.

Copyright 2012 WCSC.  All rights reserved.