7 On Your Side: Air Force knew about problems tracking criminal records in 2014

7 On Your Side: Air Force knew about problems tracking criminal records in 2014 (ABC7)

A 2014 Air Force letter to the Pentagon’s Inspector General highlights how the Air Force failed to gather missing criminal case fingerprints, even after knowing they were missing.

Servicemembers, upon final disposition of a criminal case, have their information and fingerprints recorded in an FBI form called “R-84.”

The Air Force admitted Monday that criminal case information was never sent to the FBI for Devin Kelley, convicted by the Air Force in 2012 for domestic violence against his wife and step-son.

Police say Kelley bought a prohibited firearm and massacred people at a Texas church on November 5.

A 2014 letter sent from the Air Force Director of Security Forces to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office states 329 Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps convicted offenders were not in the FBI’s criminal database.

The Air Force identified 97 names with missing fingerprints. They “exhausted all efforts to collect, through voluntary consent, the missing fingerprints” and R-84 forms. The Air Force asked for permission to stop efforts to find the remaining missing fingerprints, citing “legal limitations on collecting fingerprints and R-84’s” for former servicemembers.

The Pentagon’s Inspector General’s Office is in the middle of another review of the military’s success rate in passing criminal information to civilian law enforcement. As of 2015, that clearance rate was 70 percent of criminal cases.

“If this doesn't happen fast, it can have deadly consequences,” said Kim Gandy, CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “Whether it's military law enforcement or civilian law enforcement, if they don't collect the data, if they don't collect the fingerprints at the time, years later, it's almost impossible.”

View an example of an R-84 form below:

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