Unvetted Coaches and Volunteers: Some Arizona Towns Making Changes

Background checks based on a fingerprinting system done through the Arizona Department of Public Safety have had an average turnaround time of six to eight weeks, according to Town of Marana officials. Due to these delays, several towns say they are forced to allow unvetted coaches and volunteers to participate in their municipal sports leagues.

Jane Fairall of the Town of Marana, says the fingerprinting turnaround time is just too long. The Town of Marana does not want to take the risk of hiring someone who has not been properly screened. They have decided to change their background check procedure by switching from time-delaying fingerprint checks to the much faster and more reliable social security based screenings through SSCI.

Many people think that fingerprint-based background checks are more accurate than those based on social security numbers and other personal information because after all, fingerprints cannot be falsified right? However, what many people do not realize is that police do not always take fingerprints following a crime.

If a person is not actually arrested for a crime, and instead issued a citation, fine or other form of definitive penalty, they are not fingerprinted. They are still considered guilty of the crime, but the incident would not show up on a fingerprinting check. Another hole in this system is that in many cases, these criminal records are not updated nearly as often as they should be by the individual states and counties. This can cause a misrepresentation of a person’s background when there is missing or incomplete data.

Read the full article from the Arizona Daily Star here.