Many people called Air Force veteran Chris LeDay a good Samaritan for publishing a video in early July that shows Alton Sterling being shot and killed by a Baton Rouge police officer.
A day later, he was arrested while trying to enter Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia to go to work. Since his arrest, he has been unable to return to his job as an aerospace ground equipment technician.
LeDay, who had been on the job for about four weeks at the time, was in the process of obtaining his security clearance, which is a requirement for his job. While he awaited approval, he showed his identification daily at a checkpoint and called a person from his job to escort him on base.
Police originally told LeDay he was being detained on a warrant for assault and battery out of Dunwoody, Georgia. LeDay denied having ever been arrested on such charges. It appears the warrant was a case of mistaken identity, but they still placed him under arrest for more than $1,200 in unpaid traffic fines. He spent a night in jail and was released after paying the fines, according to the Washington Post.
Three weeks after his arrest, LeDay’s supervisor told him he still couldn’t return to work until proper paperwork was turned in to security on base and he was cleared to return. LeDay has told media outlets that he told his supervisor about the traffic tickets, and the supervisor said the traffic violations wouldn’t have stopped him from being able to work.
We will continue to monitor this story to see whether LeDay ultimately is permitted to return to work.
Traffic Tickets and Security Clearance
This timely news story makes it a good time to get to the bottom of the role your driving record plays in the security clearance process.
You don’t have to self-report traffic tickets of less than $300 if you hold a clearance, nor are you required to list them on your SF-86, according to Clearance Jobs.
There are some exceptions to this. If the ticketing officer listed the offense code as a misdemeanor, such as driving without a license or excessive speeding, that violation must be reported.
You also must report traffic violations if you have been ticketed for the same violation on multiple occasions. These violations “can still be aggregated by security clearance adjudicators to form the basis for a security clearance denial on grounds of ‘personal conduct’ and an apparent refusal to follow societal norms and rules,” according to the Clearance Jobs article.
“You can create unnecessary hurdles in the process by including information that isn’t required on the SF-86, such as reporting what you’ve paid to the court that includes fines and fees, instead of just the fines,” says security clearance lawyer Catie Young. “This is a great example of why it’s a good idea to consult an attorney who specializes in security clearance law when you’re completing the SF-86. A security clearance lawyer can help you avoid those hurdles.”