Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Can I get fries with that criminal report?

Today we traveled to the capitol of Kentucky, good 'ole Frankfort, in order to get background checks. We called for directions and were directed to a drive-up window on the side of a government building. A drive-thru? For a background check? We found it surprising to say the least, and were curious indeed. When we arrived, sure enough, we saw the drive-thru. We pulled up, handed in our IDs and our $10 a piece, then waited about 5 minutes and were presented with our very own criminal histories! Sadly though, the State Government does not provide fries and shakes.

Getting my criminal report was a good reminder of the high-school and college days in which I was apparently a speedster, or so my list of traffic citations would suggest. Thankfully, 2 years in Africa has taught me that there's no good reason to hurry, so I'm a much more law-abiding driver these days.

As a part of our visa application to move to France, we had to get full background checks from the FBI. We ordered these in mid-October, and still have nothing. Because we're planning to leave in less than a month and haven't yet turned in our applications (short only the FBI background checks), we decided to get as many others as we can in a more local sense, hoping we'll be able to push our application for a visa through and at least get it started. So we've now obtained a letter from our local city police HQ in Lexington, a state-wide criminal history from the capitol of KY, and we're still waiting on the FBI background report. Sort of sad that the State of KY could do in 5 minutes at a drive-thru window what the FBI needs over 2 months to do. Here's a rundown of how our city, state, and nation rank in providing background checks:

1. State of KY (5 mins)
2. City of Lexington (2 days)
3. FBI (almost 2 months and counting...)

1. City of Lexington (free)
2. State of KY ($10)
3. FBI ($18)

1. FBI (though still unknown, this is the actual form we're required to have, so in that sense it's the best quality)
2. City of Lexington (a formal typed and notarized letter)
3. State of KY (it was just a print-out, not at all official-looking)

1. FBI (the whole nation obviously covers more than state or city)
2. State of KY (this one listed my traffic citations, I'm not a fan of it)
3. City of Lexington (we're clean, we're clean!)

Thank you city of Lexington for helping us out when we needed a letter. Thank you State of KY for your speedy, though simple, service. Please please hurry FBI! We need you!

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