Serving & Protecting the residents of Edmonston, Maryland
Fingerprinting / Criminal Records Checks
Why Do I Need To Be Fingerprinted?
Many jobs today require potential employees to have a "clean background" before they can be hired.  Child Care Workers, Teachers, Taxi Drivers, Fire Fighters, Security Guards, Special Police Officers, etc., are just some of the positions which require the applicant to include a copy of their Criminal History Background Report, sometimes referred to as a "Police Arrest Record," along with their employment application.

In the State of Maryland, all law enforcement agencies submit arrest information to two agencies whom maintain data banks of all criminal history information.  The FBI in Washington, DC., and "CJIS," The Maryland Criminal Justice Information System, located in Pikesville, Maryland.  (CJIS is a division of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.)

Information from both agencies is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to police departments and the court system, for the purposes of criminal investigation and sentencing only.  Computers, which access this information in police stations and courthouses cannot be used to obtain criminal history information for background checks, unless the applicant is applying for a position  with a criminal justice agency.  (Police Department, Corrections, Court System, etc.)

People who wish to obtain a copy of their own Criminal History Background Report must obtain it directly  from the Criminal Justice Information System, (CJIS) by mail, and for a fee.  The results will then be sent back directly to the person who requested it.  Private companies and non-criminal justice government agencies cannot request a background check on a potential employee, however, in many cases the employer will reimburse the applicant for the costs of obtaining the background check, and will actually mail the request to the Criminal Justice Information System.

So Why Do I Need To Be Fingerprinted ........
When a person is arrested in most states, they are usually taken to a police station and processed, before being taken before a magistrate or other judicial officer for a bail bond review.  The term processing, simply means having one's fingerprints and photographs taken.  The fingerprint card itself is important because it not only records the
arrested person's fingerprints in ink, but also contains the facts surrounding the arrest, and it is this information which is stored in very large computers at both the FBI and CJIS.

Have you ever heard the old expression that "No two people have the same fingerprints?" well it's true, and since it is conceivable that a person may lie about their name, address or date of birth to conceal a criminal past, they will not be able to lie about their fingerprints.  (This is why fingerprinting is so important..)

In order to obtain a Criminal History Check from CJIS and the FBI, (CJIS makes the request to both agencies) the applicant must fill out a "CJIS Application for Criminal History Report," which is actually a large orange-colored fingerprint card.  (Police agencies often refer to this application as the "orange card.")  In addition, if the employer wants the FBI to do a national background check as well, the smaller blue-colored FBI FD-258 Fingerprint Card (referred to as the blue card) must be filled out as well.
The applicant must then take the card(s) to an authorized agency to have the actual fingerprinting done.  Unfortunately, although all police departments are authorized to take fingerprints, most no longer offer the service to the general public.

The Edmonston Police Department does not currently offer Fingerprinting Services, however it is available at the Maryland State Police - College Park Barracks.  For information and directions call (301) 345-3101

Fingerprinting is also available through the Maryland State Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services in Pikesville, and through a number of Private Fingerprinting Services.  For additional information and locations, click here.

Once a person has been fingerprinted, the applicant (or the employer) will mail the cards to CJIS with the required background check fees.  The results will then be mailed back in about two weeks to the applicant, at whatever address is listed on the application.

I just got fingerprinted for a job I worked at six months ago, why do I have to do it all over again for this job?

Contrary to what the "conspiracy theory" people think, the government does not keep a file of everyone's fingerprints.  Only the fingerprints of people who have been arrested, or are working in highly sensitive government positions, are on file in the FBI and the State computers.

That being the case, when you are fingerprinted for a Background Check, the fingerprint card is destroyed after the check is made.  The law does not allow those fingerprints to be stored, and therefore if you apply for a new job, you must be fingerprinted and the background check done all over again.

(After all, just because a person had a clean background the last time he or she was checked, doesn't mean they haven't committed a crime since then.  The fingerprints will tell for sure.)

Once again, this is the ONLY way to get a Criminal History Background Check in the State of Maryland. Other states may differ on procedure, but in this state there is no way to obtain a records check instantly.


The following is a section from the CJIS / DPSCS Website:

Criminal History

How do I check my criminal history?

Criminal history information is collected and maintained by the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). Individuals can check their own criminal history by visiting their local sheriff’s office or police barracks to request an individual review. You will be fingerprinted and your fingerprint identification will be sent to the CJIS Central Repository: P.O. Box 32708 Pikesville, Md., 21282-2708. Once received, CJIS will then process the results and mail them back to you. The charge is $18 plus the cost for fingerprint identification. For more information, please call the CJIS Help Desk (888/795-0011).

How do I check the criminal history of someone other than myself?

Individuals cannot check the criminal history of other individuals. Agencies can request the criminal history of an individual who is being considered for a position within that agency by applying for an authorization number. Please keep in mind that authorization numbers are given out for hiring purpose only. For more information, call the CJIS Help Desk (888/795-0011).

For complete information regarding Criminal History Checks, click here.

Does Maryland have a sex offender registry?

Yes. It is available online by clicking here.


5005 52nd Avenue - Edmonston, MD 20781  *  Phone (301) 699-8805  *  policeinfo@edmonstonmd.gov