TOLEDO, Ohio — We allow people into our lives all of the time, but police say it's important to know who you're dating and if things turn serious, who you should allow around your children.
A simple background check tool is available to northwest Ohioans for a small fee.
There are a lot of online sources that charge people for background checks, although police say many of them aren't reputable.
"They'll charge obscene amounts of money and not provide accurate information," said Lt. Kellie Lenhardt, a spokesperson with the Toledo Police Department.
She recommends people use the Northwest Ohio Regional Information System or NORIS. NORIS operates a Criminal History Record Checks office to provide government, business and private individuals with criminal history reports to be used for the purpose of determining eligibility in the areas of employment, rental agreements, childcare, elder care and enlistment in the armed services.
After filling out the proper paperwork online, anyone can find out someone's local criminal history including arrests, court records and convictions, which is all public record.
The minimum information required for the NORIS system is the person's name and date of birth.
The fee is $10 and requires a scheduled appointment.
The NORIS system includes multiple jurisdictions in northwest Ohio but not all so Lenhardt says it shouldn't be the relied upon 100% to prove someone doesn't have criminal charges somewhere.
"If the person had a charge in another state or not in the immediate area, that wouldn't show up in the NORIS report," Lenhardt said. "We still continue to encourage people to do all of the research possible before accepting that person into their lives or into the lives of their children."
Research can include simply doing a quick Google search on a person's name and birthday.
Police suggest people to inquire about a date's history so you can find out where they used to live. If they do have a criminal record out-of-state, you can always contact the local law enforcement agency, clerk of court or county court to get those criminal case records.
For additional information, you can contact NORIS in Toledo at 567-200-6839.