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Tuesday October 15, 2019 Salt Lake City, UT

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Operation Rio Grande

Protecting Utah

BCI Supports Salt Lake County’s Expungement Day

Thursday June 27, 2019
Volunteer attorneys help individuals with the expungement process at Salt Lake County's Expungement Day.
Volunteer attorneys help individuals with the expungement process at Salt Lake County’s Expungement Day.

On June 26th, the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office partnered with the Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) and over 60 volunteer attorneys from the Utah State Bar to host a second Expungement Day event. This event was the first in a two-step process to help qualifying individuals legally clear their criminal records.

BCI employees assisting individuals with the expungement process at Expungement Day
BCI employees assisting individuals with the expungement process at Expungement Day

During Wednesday’s event, volunteers helped dozens of eligible individuals in Salt Lake County for free, thanks to a grant from the Utah Commission of Criminal and Juvenile Justice. 

Volunteer attorneys help individuals with the expungement process at Salt Lake County's Expungement Day.
Volunteer attorneys help individuals with the expungement process at Salt Lake County’s Expungement Day.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, DPS Commissioner Jess L. Anderson, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gil and Utah State Bar representatives spoke at a press conference about the Expungement Day event.

Mayor Wilson speaks at Expungement Day press conference.
Mayor Wilson speaks at Expungement Day press conference.

“A criminal record creates many barriers for individuals, including an inability to access housing, employment and educational opportunities. The road to self-reliance and independence is often blocked by past crimes that show up in routine background and credit checks. As a county, we need to help individuals move past the stain of a criminal record,” said Mayor Jenny Wilson. 

Commissioner Anderson addressed the media at Expungement Day press conference.
DPS Commissioner Anderson speaks at the Expungement Day press conference.

Data from the DPS shows approximately one in four people in our state have a criminal record. DPS Commissioner Anderson shared the fact that BCI has over 700,000 subscriptions for people to be checked in an eight-state regionally on the Rapback system. During the last year (May 2018 – May 2019) BCI accepted 5,040 applications for expungement and determined there were 7,009 criminal and traffic charges eligible for expungement for applicants.

Commissioner Anderson mentioned how the Expungement Day events have been helpful with the Phase Three of Operation Rio Grande, as they have assisted people experiencing homelessness to find jobs and housing. “We are grateful to be part of this effort,” said Commissioner Anderson. “This effort is having a huge impact and will continue to help individuals find self reliance and continue on their own path to be successful.”

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson; District Attorney Sim Gill; Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson; Utah State Bar President Dickson Burton and Utah State Bar Heather Farnsworth);
Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson; District Attorney Sim Gill; Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson; Utah State Bar President Dickson Burton and Utah State Bar Representative Heather Farnsworth

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gil noted that the event was a collaborative effort with multiple partners working toward achieving the objective of helping to remove institutional barriers to individuals who have gone through the criminal justice system, paid their debt to society and now want to become productive members of the community again.

Captain Wilmore and BCI employee review paper work at Expungement Day.
Captain Wilmore and BCI employee review paper work at Expungement Day.

Expungement is a legal process set forth in Utah law. It defines who is,and who is not eligible to clear their court records. Application for expungement must be submitted to BCI and filed with the court.

BCI employees assist individuals with paper work completion at Expungement Day in Salt Lake County.
BCI employees assist individuals with paper work completion at Expungement Day in Salt Lake County.

Salt Lake County is planning another Expungement Day event in October, to help individuals complete the process and obtain orders of expungement from the court. 

As part of Operation Rio Grande, Salt Lake County launched its first ever, Expungement Day event in April 2018. The county was able to speak with more than 450 individuals and offer some type of expungement legal assistance to 73 people who attended. 

Below are two videos that feature information about expungement eligibility and the expungement process.

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