SCPA can run SLED criminal background checks for your news stories

SCPA staffers are happy to run free South Carolina Law Enforcement Division criminal background checks for S.C. newspaper journalists. If you are not a member of SCPA, you need to visit the SLED website directly to obtain a background check.

SCPA members: To obtain a SLED check, call SCPA at (803) 750-9561 during business hours with the full name and date of birth. We’ll email you the results within minutes. After hours and on weekends, reporters must go to the SLED website and pay the $25 fee. Checks are for news stories only. You may request SLED checks for candidates. You may not run a check through SCPA on potential employees, girlfriends or boyfriends, neighbors, etc. For those, you must go to the SLED website and pay the $25 fee. 

Here are a few more things to note:

    • We cannot run a SLED check without the date of birth. The date of birth is verification that the record belongs to the correct person. Running multiple dates could provide info where you could misidentify someone. We don’t want to open you and the paper up to legal issues.
    • The SLED database only returns criminal record information from South Carolina. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations offers an online Georgia Felon Search. All you need is a name and date of birth. The fee for each search is $15. North Carolina is a closed record state, which means a person’s criminal history background is protected and cannot be disseminated without his or her consent. However, the N.C. Judicial Branch provides court information and is public record. The N.C. Department of Public Safety maintains information about individuals who are serving or have served state prison sentences and those who are, or have been, on probation or parole. And the N.C. State Sex Offender Registry maintains information about registered sex offenders. Here are more details on N.C. background checks.
    • Occasionally, the SLED database will give an error or special processing message when it returns multiple results for a name and date of birth. Or the name and DOB on the subject’s criminal record could differ from the one provided in the search criteria, such as in the use of aliases, which may result in a false negative or false positive result. If you have questions concerning the results of your inquiry, please call the SLED Public Dissemination Unit at (803) 896-1443.

If you are an SCPA member and have questions about obtaining a background check, contact Cathy Scott. All other questions about background checks should be directed to SLED.

SLED criminal background checks for news stories