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New RI law requires stringent background checks for firefighters

July 9, 2014

PROVIDENCE – A new General Assembly law signed by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee on July 3 is requiring municipal fire departments to conduct more extensive criminal background checks of new applicants for positions in their departments.
The new background check rules would also require the fire department employee candidates to have a fingerprint check done at their expense with the fingerprint records being destroyed immediately upon completion of the background check, according to the legislation.
The bills, H-8037 A — sponsored by Reps. Scott Slater (D-Dist. 10 Providence) and Grace Diaz (D-Dist 10 Providence), and S-2712 A — sponsored by Sens. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist.1 Providence) and Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston and Providence), passed in the House and the Senate and were sent to Chafee on July 2.
The new law requires fire department applicants to undergo a “national and state criminal background check,” that would be initiated prior to or within one week of employment after the candidate receives a conditional offer of employment.
Prospective firefighter candidates would apply to the “bureau of criminal identification (BCI), department of attorney general, state police or the local police department where they reside for a national and state criminal records check.”
The cost of the required fingerprint check and national and state background checks would be borne by the applicant, according to the new law.
Read the full story in Thursday's newspaper.

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