The police department must establish an appropriate records management process for these records. The records should be locked, and only police department employees with a business reason for handling the information should have access. In addition, the police department will need to consult with the city’s administrative staff (city administrator, clerk, or other records management staff) to decide how long the records will be maintained and include them in an approved records retention schedule. Generally, records of persons not hired are kept for one year after the position is filled; records of persons on eligibility lists are kept for two years (or the length of eligibility, if longer); and records of persons who are hired are kept for five years after termination of employment.
When a city uses the local police department to conduct background checks, the police department will be responsible for conveying the appropriate information to the city department that will determine whether to hire the applicant or not. The police department should provide a summary of the information from the criminal history check, and assist the decision maker in understanding what the data means. Ideally, the hiring authority has determined in advance which types of crimes will be disqualifying and conveyed that to the police department before the background check is done.
When questions arise, the police department and decision-making authority should discuss together whether any crimes or arrests are related to the job for which the individual is applying.
The BCA data base—whether accessed through the local police department or through the BCA—will not contain criminal history that occurred in another state, even a neighboring state. If the city wishes to obtain that information, it should contact the neighboring state to find how to access their information. The city will receive national criminal history information on workers covered by the Child Protection Background Check Act and firefighters by submitting fingerprints and paying the required fees to the BCA.
The League generally recommends checking the driving records of applicants for employment and current employees who will be driving for the city on a routine basis. These checks should be done to ensure the employee or applicant does not have a record of reckless or drunk driving, traffic violations, or a high number of accidents that could expose the city to liability if the employee is involved in a traffic accident.
League of Minnesota Cities Information Memo: Background Checks: The ABCs of BCA Data
1/14/2014 Page 6