Why is Fingerprinting Necessary?

Many jobs require their potential employees to submit to a criminal records check before an offer of employment is extended. Sometimes this check is referred to as a “Police Arrest Record.

In the State of Maryland, all law enforcement agencies submit arrest information to the FBI 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) for a fee, by submitting fingerprints through an authorized CJIS LiveScan Fingerprinting Service provider. The results will then be sent back directly to the person who requested it.

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 review. The term processing, simply means having one’s fingerprints and photographs taken. This process is important because it not only records the arrested person’s fingerprints, but also contains the facts surrounding the arrest, and it is this information that 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.

In order to obtain a Criminal History Check the applicant must fill out a “LiveScan Pre-Registration Application,” and take it to an authorized CJIS LiveScan Fingerprint Service. There will be a fee for the records check (fingerprinting fee may vary by service provider.)  The results of the background records check will be mailed to the applicant in approximately two weeks. (The results cannot be mailed directly to the applicant’s employer.)

Please note that the Edmonston Police Department is NOT equipped to provide this service. You can obtain the service from an  authorized LiveScan Fingerprinting Service provider.

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 common belief, the government does not keep a file of everyone’s fingerprints. Only the fingerprints of individuals 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.

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