Volunteer Firefighter Background Check
Non-Fingerprint Background Checks – Volunteer Firefighters
Effective December 2, 2014, Executive Law §837-o requires prospective volunteer firefighters, and current volunteers seeking membership in another fire company, to undergo non-fingerprint criminal history background checks, for arson convictions and convictions which require registration as a sex offender only, against the State’s criminal history files maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
DCJS supplies the DCJS-VFF Volunteer Firefighter Inquiry Form to each Sheriff’s Office in the State and to OFPC. Sheriffs’ offices and OFPC shall distribute the form to volunteer fire companies seeking to perform arson and registerable sex offense background checks on prospective volunteers and fire company transferees. Fire company officials should complete sections A and B and fields 1 through 10 of the DCJS –VFF Volunteer Firefighter Inquiry Form. Fire company officials should use the applicant/transferee driver’s license, and another form of identification, such as a birth certificate, passport or social security card, when completing the forms. Completed forms must be returned to the sheriff’s office, or to OFPC where applicable, via U.S. mail, fax or hand delivery. E-mail transmission is not permissible.
If an arson and/or registerable sex offense case is pending adjudication, the requesting fire company should be informed that a decision regarding the applicant/transferee must be delayed. Criminal history records (i.e., rapsheets) are not to be provided to fire companies under any circumstance. In cases where a background check results in the discovery of an arson and/or registerable sex offense conviction against an applicant/transferee and the individual disputes the conviction, the fire company official should immediately refer the individual to DCJS for a personal record review. If the personal record review results in the determination that the individual is free of an arson conviction and/or registerable sex offense conviction, a subsequent notification will be sent to the sheriff’s office which will then forward the appropriate notification to the fire company. It should be noted that while an applicant/transferee who has been convicted of arson is not eligible to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire company, a registered sex offender is not automatically disqualified from membership. If the background check results in the discovery that the applicant/transferee is a registered sex offender, the fire company must make a determination of eligibility in accordance with the criteria established in Correction Law §§752 and 753. The fire company should be directed to contact the Sex Offender Registry at 1-800-262-3257 to obtain more information about the conviction.
Please mail completed DCJS-VFF Forms to: Otsego County Sheriffs Office
172 Co Hwy 33W
Cooperstown NY 13326
RE: Vol. FF Background Check