Are Police Records Available to the Public?

If you’ve been arrested or have received a citation for something from a police officer, you likely don’t want the general public to know about it. Whether it’s because it’s an embarrassing situation from when you were much younger or because it reflects poorly on your character, police records feel like a personal part of most people’s identities. That being said, for the safety of other citizens, aspects of your police report are made publicly available. One of the most common examples of this is the list of registered sex offenders in any given neighborhood. This information is incredibly important for the public to know so that they can make informed decisions about where to live and so that schools can keep children safe. Here are some more things to keep in mind about the public nature of police records.

What information about my criminal past is public?

Knowing what information from your police record could be out there is the first step to understanding more about public records. Police records, for example, contain all criminal information associated with a particular individual. All of this information has been documented by police officers throughout the person’s life, including information such as someone’s full name, what charges led to their arrest, and any aliases they may have used. A police record also includes who arrested the person and any other charges they may have faced. Finally, expect to see your mugshot in a police record, if one was taken and you were not a minor at the time of your arrest. 

Another public records search that may reveal information about criminal activity in your past is an inmate search. Inmate searches are only applicable to those who are currently incarcerated, as they only reveal information about current prisoners. An inmate search may turn up information about where a prisoner is currently located, whether it’s a federal or state prison they’re held in, and any contact information for the inmate. These searches may also showcase details about the nature of your arrest, but are far less detailed in that regard than police records.

The best way to know what’s out there on you is to search

If you’re concerned about what information someone may find when searching a website like GoLookUp for information on Polk county inmates or prisoners from another area of Iowa, the best thing you can do is look for the information yourself. After all, anything that you’re able to find is what other people will be able to see. It’s important to note that a website like GoLookUp does more than just display results sourced from arrest records or inmate databases. Such websites also aggregate information from other kinds of public records, such as marriage and divorce records, as well as phonebooks. As a result, an online search of a public records database will also turn up addresses, email addresses, mailing addresses, and even social media and dating profiles. By determining what comes up when you search your name on a website like GoLookUp, you can be proactive and plan ways to explain any unsavory details should they come up during a job interview or on a first date. 

It’s understandable that if you have a criminal record you may wish for employers and other people to not discover it. After all, a criminal record can make it harder to get hired. Even so, if you know what sort of information might show up during a background check, this can make it easier to prepare for an interview and get ahead of the situation. Since police records are available to the public via online databases such as GoLookUp, having a proactive approach is generally the best strategy if you have an arrest record.