Brookline Explores Fingerprint Background Checks

A proposal to use fingerprinting for criminal background checks is one of 19 articles on a warrant approved by Selectmen Tuesday for the Nov. 15 Town Meeting.

Under a proposal by Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary, the police department is seeking to change its background check system for a number of business and retail license applicants, including ice cream truck drivers, taxi drivers, managers of a business with a liquor license, automobile dealers and door-to-door solicitors.

The town currently performs criminal record background checks based on the names of license applicants, but the system only searches through Massachusetts criminal records and does not include criminal records of other states or federal crimes. The name-based system also doesn’t catch crimes in which a person used a false name at the time of arrest, according to Brookline Police.

Fingerprint-based background checks are considered more reliable, and O’Leary’s proposal would enable the FBI to assist with the local background checks beginning in May 2012.

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