South Dakota Now Allows Fingerprinting for Background Checks

Could some areas of the country not allow fingerprinting as part of a background check procedure? In South Dakota recently, fingerprinting state government employees just became law. Some of the instances in which we’ve seen fingerprinting come into play are for teaching occupations and anything that involves contact with children, the elderly, or the disabled. In all cases, the fingerprints for the person applying for a job are taken and compared to a national database to find a match. If a match is found, the person could have committed a crime in any state, and the background check ends up being very thorough.

Although, as explained in the linked article above, the new law in South Dakota specifies which state government jobs will require fingerprinting, such a background check is inevitably more thorough. As we’ve mentioned on here before, the basic background check – the kind that most employers do – involves checking criminal records in all states and locations a person has lived over a period of seven to ten years. This will include local and state-wide records. Although this is often accurate and thorough enough for the average person, criminal history may go undetected, especially if the cutoff point is only 10 years and an applicant isn’t fully honest about his or her history.

Once fingerprinting is used in a background check, however, a person’s national criminal history is exposed. For government jobs with a high degree of responsibility, as well as for positions working with the most vulnerable, having a fully clean – and honest – criminal history is important. Once your fingerprints are taken, they’re compared to a national FBI database, which has a record of every fingerprint for every national criminal. Any state and any crime above a misdemeanor is listed, and, if you did such a crime at any point in time, it will be listed.