Public Safety Backgrounds
Our process starts with the delivery of instructions and forms to your applicants. We then schedule each applicant for an initial interview, which incorporates a very thorough and comprehensive review of the Personal History Statement form. We refer to this meeting as a Personal History Interview. Our inquiries during the investigative interview include:
- Motivation / Preparation
- Personal Traits / Temperament
- Motor Vehicle Operation
- Employment History
- Legal / Criminal History
- Personal Relationships /Marital History
- Financial History
- Military History
- Personal History Statement / Background Issues
Our background report summarizes the initial interview incorporating all of the areas noted above in an "easy to read" format. It is designed to provide a quick overview of the applicant's suitability for the position sought. We gather information to help the agency make an informed decision regarding the applicant's suitability. We always leave it up to the agency to determine the thresholds of tolerance for the various behaviors which can influence the direction of a background. After the initial investigative interview, we typically supply a report to the Department and let them determine if they would like to continue forward with the remaining investigation. If there are serious concerns, or disqualifying factors revealed up front, the agency may not want to continue forward with the remainder of the investigation. This method often saves a department time and resources. Other background companies have been known to complete a full investigation, after an applicant admits, up front, they have recently engaged in a serious indiscretion which will obviously adversely impact their suitability for working in public safety. We supply both the Personal History Statement and a summary of our interview to the polygraph examiner for their review prior to their test. Our goal is to have a completed report no later than 45 business days or sooner depending on nature of background.
Here is an overview of the information we collect during the full background investigation:
Beyond the initial interview, a major component of the background investigation centers on securing information from references. It is expected and anticipated that many acquaintances, friends, co-workers and social peers will provide cosmetic information. We look for consistency with each person contacted and explore ways to uncover secondary sources (individuals not supplied by the applicant). Our investigative efforts always seek to secure statements from former spouses and significant others (or domestic partners).
Our background investigation centers on verifying employment related information. We are assisted by way of law (California Government Code 1031.1) in that California employers are required to provide information related to duties, performance and matters of discipline. We work with the applicant to insure we can provide some level of verification, which meets agency requirements.
Police Records Checks
The background process involves securing records from law enforcement agencies. Our staff prepares the requests on behalf of the agency and directs inquiries to police jurisdictions, where the applicant has lived, worked or attended school. We include a stamped, self-addressed envelope bearing either our firm's address or the requesting agency's address. Our firm has success in securing information from law enforcement agencies throughout the United States by way of our solid reputation.
We conduct credit checks as a source of information and to also verify financial status. Our waiver meets FCRA requirements. We also verify educational history by way of transcripts which we require the applicant to provide. We request transcripts be mailed directly to an address supplied by our firm. We utilize a "Required Document" form, which is supplied to applicants at our initial instructional meeting (or by e-mail). The list of required documents supplied to the applicants at the onset of the process identifies what POST requires and looks for when they conduct agency audits.
We also conduct neighborhood checks; as required by POST but our efforts are guided by what the agency needs or wants. We are a mobile society and as such many individuals report not knowing neighbors beyond a wave or casual greeting. We always conduct a law enforcement related records check which also serves to meet the POST standard in terms of neighborhood checks. It is widely held by experienced investigators that there is a slight yield with respect to neighbor checks. Many people when contacted have little to nothing to offer.
We verify driving data trough DMV records we ask the applicant to supply. Many agencies we contract with conduct their own DMV inquiries. We will work with the agency to determine the best manner to handle this requirement. We ask the applicant to supply us with proof of insurance; a requirement established by POST.
Verifying Military status is an important component of the background investigation and can be a very challenging endeavor in light of world events. Although we have enjoyed a high degree of success in securing military records, it can take a considerable amount of time to do so. We had a recent experience involving a military recruit who committed an egregious series of acts adversely impacting a US Embassy on foreign soil. The investigation conducted by the Pentagon was highly confidential and not immediately available to us. The applicant was released by the military as a general discharge. It took a considerable bit of time and negotiation to have relevant information released to us. The information we eventually received clearly demonstrated the applicant was not suited for law enforcement and he could have been impeached as a witness in a court of law.
Our final background investigation report is summarized in an easily reviewed format geared toward providing information regarding applicant suitability at a glance. The Executive Summary details any derogatory information uncovered and provides a nexus to relevant job dimensions. The Executive Summary is the "global view" of the applicant without all the specific investigative detail.