City Proposes Background Check Law for All Taxi Drivers

By Michael Klazema on 8/27/2012

A proposed law in Oswego, New York, would require all of the city’s taxi drivers to undergo background checks in order to obtain a taxi driver’s license. Those found with a felony record in the last ten years or a designated state sex offender, regardless of when the offense occurred, would be denied a license. Brian Savage, owner of Lake City Taxi, spoke out against the pending revision to city code at a recent public hearing. He said that his company already performs criminal and driving record checks, and he “would not put someone out there” he believed would be “a risk to the public.” Savage claimed that a criminal record of a driver has never caused “an issue or…problem…in the taxi business,” and that half of the 18 taxi drivers licensed in Oswego would lose their jobs if city councilors passed the law.

However, it was later found by the Palladium-Times newspaper that there are actually 30 licensed taxi drivers in the city, and none are registered sex offenders. A state felony conviction check found four drivers with felonies that would exclude them under the new law, and Savage was among those. Savage contends that since not all felonies require jail time, it would put more of a burden on the taxi companies to track convictions. He believes those who “have already paid for” their crimes should not be discriminated against, although he is against sex offenders driving taxis. Savage is also not in favor of having the Oswego Police in charge of the administration of the licenses. The department will additionally have the task of performing the drivers’ background checks.

Oswego Police Department Sergeant Michael Brown is in charge of the inspections for the city’s taxi licensing. Brown said that under the current city code, the department is limited to the scope of criminal history check they can perform. If the proposed changes take place though, they would be permitted to perform a complete background check that would provide criminal information from all states in the U.S., also called a “file 15.” Brown noted that such an extensive check is only allowed if there is a reason, but the revised code would allow for it.

Cities around the country are increasingly passing ordinances requiring background checks in order to keep their communities safe. As mentioned in the recent article City Council Looking at Background Checks for Subsidized Housing, city officials are becoming more aware of the benefits of using background checks. If you decide to use them for your business, by using a reputable company like, you can be assured you are getting the best and most thorough background check screening techniques available.With access to countless criminal databases nationwide they have many options available, several with instant results. Their Ongoing Criminal Monitoring tool allows you to automatically run a continuous background check against a name and date of birth. You will be notified via email of any new information that may appear on their record. They will run the name for one year and remind you when it is time to renew the monitoring, plus you can remove the name from being monitored at any time. Or try their US Offender OneSEARCH, which includes information contained in their comprehensive US OneSEARCH. Plus, this data includes sex offender information from 49 states (plus Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico) with photos.

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