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A city that does not wish to use its own police department for employment background or license checks may access the BCA for this purpose by paying an established fee ($15). The city will need to understand which statute applies to the individual being checked in order to use the appropriate consent form and access the appropriate data through the BCA.

Using the BCA for background checks has some advantages over using the local police department, even when the city is not required to do so, including that the BCA has:

  • Extensive experience with background checks, the relevant statutes, and the associated consent forms.

  • The ability to match up “suspense” records (dispositions that come from the court but are not matched with a given criminal history yet) to the appropriate individual’s record. In other words, if a suspense record exists that contains a conviction, the BCA will attempt to resolve the reason for the suspense so the court disposition can be moved to the individual’s criminal history before the record is released.

  • Experience resolving situations where there may be a “questioned identity”—two individuals have the same name and the same date of birth.

  • The ability to do additional checks—such as Predatory Offender Registration (POR) checks if the consent form specifically authorizes the release of the POR data—the local police department may not be able to perform.

Therefore, the city may receive more and better information with which to make hiring decisions by going through the BCA. However, the city will need to pay a fee of $15, and may have to wait somewhat longer for background checks through the BCA than it would by using the city’s own police department. It generally takes about a week for a background check to be completed.

Minn. Stat. § 299C.72.

The law prohibits dissemination of records obtained from the system by the local law enforcement agency for city employment or city licensing background checks outside the police department; therefore, the information must be maintained by the local police department—not by any other city department.

League of Minnesota Cities Information Memo: Background Checks: The ABCs of BCA Data

1/14/2014 Page 5

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