Wednesday, February 22, 2006

GSW to the Foot

SSG George's streak of wearing the DEP LOSS KING crown continues!

This is getting annoying. I'm just thankful that USAREC changed the FS loss policy to no longer punish the points of the entire station.

There are two types of FS losses that recruiting has no one to blame for but themselves. Positive Matches and Positive DATs. A Positive Match is someone who is popped for a concealed record of law violations. Positive DATs are someone popping hot from drugs or alcohol.

How I think it works at MEPS when it comes to a positive match is, when a Soldier enlists MEPS takes their fingerprints, and runs their identifying data, prints, name, SSN, birthdate, etc through the FBI database. Whatever comes up on that report is balanced against what was revealed on the SF86 and waived, if necessary. Anything which wasn't listed is considered a positive match and I, as the recruiter, now have to rerun all checks for where they lived, worked, went to school, etc. Basically I need to find the charge and figure it out. Here's my problem with this system.

It's stupid.

It's a "gotcha!" thing for recruiting, at least in my opinion. I watch enough Law and Order to know that the FBI's database is pretty open to those who they want to allow to use it. On TV any police officer can sit down at any computer and log right into the FBI records and see what's out there. In real life it seems that MEPS can do the same thing and have recruiter-hurting information back in about 3-4 days. Why do recruiters not have that same ability?

Why is it impossible for that sort of access to not be powered-down to the recruiter level? Is it a resource thing? Does the FBI not have enough bandwidth to deal with recruiters requesting these checks? Is it a power thing? Does does recruiting just want to make sure there is a way to catch someone trying to be "sneaky" by telling a kid to "just shut-up" about something? Phoenix Municipal court makes their records available online. Just a quick by-name search has saved me countless phone calls trying to track down minor issues. Why can that not be done on the national level? It seems to me that USAREC does itself a huge disservice by punishing recruiters for something that USAREC could eliminate. Providing recruiters with the opportunity to see what an applicant has seems like something that would reduce FS losses, and improve recruiter's work; we won't waste time preparing a guy who didn't tell us he went on a crime spree in Seattle.

As for the positive DAT that ruined SSG George's day? We enlist people without their physical being complete. It takes up to a week to get a drug test back. I'm sure there is a smart reason for it, I can actually think of a couple, but why do we allow someone to fully join when there is still a chance they'll come back hot for something? I'd be curious how many people are losses due to positive DATs.

Anyway, I think recruiting would do itself a HUGE favor by allowing recruiters to see what the MEPS sees in regards to police records. And I think recruiting would do itself a smaller favor by not allowing credit until the DAT came back. My $0.02.


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