Instructions for Volunteers
Dear Organization that utilizes volunteers
Arkansas and FBI criminal history background checks are now available for organizations that utilize volunteers. Arkansas Code Annotated §12-12-1601 et seq. authorizes these background checks.
Who qualifies to receive the background check information?
Generally any organization that utilizes volunteers, such as Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, any church organization, soccer or softball associations.
Why should we run a background check on our volunteers?
One of the easiest ways for sexual predators to gain access to children is through volunteering their time to work with children. Predators are able to move from county to county or state to state and not be detected. They may start with a clean slate with each move, unless a criminal history background check is performed.
What type of information does the background check release?
The background check through the Arkansas State Police releases a person’s Arkansas felony and misdemeanor conviction record, any pending Arkansas felony arrests (where a person has been arrested and has not gone to trial within the last three years) and whether the person is a registered sex offender (levels one through four) or required to register as a sex offender.
The FBI check will release arrest and/or conviction information for any state that has sent the arrest fingerprint card to the FBI and it has been accepted.
What do I need from the volunteer to get the background check?
You will need accurate information such as name, gender, race, date of birth and social security number. It is preferable that you obtain the information directly from their Arkansas driver’s license or identification card. You will also need a signed release from the volunteer. The volunteer agency must retain the release in their files for three (3) years.
For the FBI check, you will need the specific card for volunteer fingerprint based checks. The cards are available through ASP Police at no charge.
I can get registered sex offender information off the internet for free, can’t I?
Yes, to a certain extent.
There are four levels of registered sex offenders. Level one is a lowest risk person and level four is the highest risk person. Level four is described as a violent sexual predator. The Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC) website has information that is available to the public on the three highest levels which are levels two, three and four. www.acic.state.ar.us Information regarding the level one offenders are not listed on that website. The background check service offered through Arkansas State Police releases whether the person is registered as a level one, two, three or four sex offender.
How much does this service cost?
If you use the on-line service through the State Police website, (www.asp.state.ar.us) the cost is $11.00 per request. To use the internet site there is also an annual registration fee to the internet service provider (other services can also be provided for that fee).
If you use the paper service the cost is $10.00 per request. For the manual process, please include a self addressed stamped envelope for ASP to mail the results to you.
The FBI check is based on fingerprints and costs $11.25. ASP will provide the FBI fingerprint cards.
How do we pay for the service?
If you choose the on-line service, the Information Network of Arkansas can bill you on a monthly basis for the state background checks. FBI checks requested through the online system will also be billed by the Information Network of Arkansas.
If you did not select online billing you would need to send the $11.25 for the FBI check when you mail in the fingerprint card to State Police.
If you choose the paper system to request a state and FBI background check, you can mail payment of $21.25 ($10.00 plus $11.25) with the completed fingerprint card to State Police.
How fast is the on-line service as compared to mailing my request to State Police?
Depending on the accuracy of the information entered, approximately 70% of the state on-line background check requests now being returned as completed are instantaneous. The other 30% are delayed in the research section of State Police for various reasons and are usually completed within the day. A request that is mailed in will usually be processed and put back in the mail on the same or next business day.
How long does it take to get the FBI results back?
Usually two to four weeks. Due to federal restrictions, the individual volunteer agencies are not allowed direct access to the FBI report. The volunteer agency must file a listing of disqualifying offenses with State Police (that is a listing of offenses that if the person has a conviction for they cannot serve as a volunteer with that agency). State Police will receive the FBI report and compare it to the listing of disqualifying offenses for that volunteer agency and inform the volunteer agency whether the person is eligible to serve as a volunteer based on the FBI report.
A listing of Arkansas criminal offenses is available through the ID Bureau. This listing can be used by the volunteer agency board to determine which offenses should be disqualifying.
Do we get absolutely everything there is out there on the person?
That cannot be guaranteed by the Arkansas State Police. If the person was arrested and the fingerprint card was never sent to FBI or the Arkansas State Police, the arrest will not be on the report.
Can we get an FBI check and not get the Arkansas check?
No. It is a common misconception that everything that is in Arkansas’ fingerprint/criminal history database is also in the FBI database. That is not true. Arkansas has far more arrest and conviction information than the FBI has for Arkansas arrests. Also, Arkansas law prohibits State Police from performing the FBI check without the Arkansas check having been requested or performed.
What if an arrest shows up on a criminal history report and the volunteer states that the record does not belong to them?
Those persons will need to be referred to the Arkansas State Police Identification Bureau. The ID Bureau is able to take the fingerprints of the volunteer and compare it to the actual fingerprint card taken from the subject at the time of the Arkansas arrest. If the fingerprints do not match the report will be corrected and a new report will be issued at no additional charge. If the fingerprints do match then the report will not be changed. Out of state arrests will be directed to the arresting agency.
I’m interested! How do I sign up for the on-line service Go to https://www.ark.org/criminal and click on “Subscribe online” and complete the application form. The application information is sent to State Police for approval. Once approved and passwords have been issued (by the Information Network of Arkansas) you are ready to start running background checks.
How do I get the paper form so I can mail in the background check request form?
Download form by clicking here Volunteer Background Check Request form.
How do I sign up for FBI background checks and get fingerprint cards?
To obtain FBI fingerprint cards your organization will need to file with State Police a governing board (Board of Directors etc) resolution or minutes stating the listing of criminal convictions that are designated as disqualifying offense.
If you have any questions please contact the ID Bureau at (501) 618-8500 or e-mail the State Police website.