Fingerprinting N.Y. school bus drivers goes digital
Peru, New York - December 15, 2010
It's the end of the day for students in Peru, N.Y. Hundreds of them rely on bus drivers to take them home. Most school districts in the North Country hire their own bus drivers.
"We interview, we check backgrounds, we look at references, we engage in key questions with individuals to determine if they are a perspective match," said A. Paul Scott, the Peru Central School Superintendent.
The Peru Central School District employs four dozen bus drivers. The final step in the hiring process is fingerprinting. Previously in New York, perspective bus drivers needed to ink and roll their fingers on cards. Now their prints will be scanned and sent electronically.
"In turn it will be less likely to be a driver on a probation basis that perhaps shouldn't be with children," Scott said.
State law allows new school bus drivers to work until their fingerprints are checked in a number of law enforcement databases. Under the old system that could take up to three months. With the new electronic fingering printing system the background check can be completed in just a couple of days. And it is expected to be more accurate.
"The old roller-type fingerprinting there is the potential for smudging, mislabeling, there's a lot of human error that can go into place," said Glenn Olds, of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. "The prints themselves become more crystal clear, they are more able to analyze the fingerprint with more accuracy."
DMV officials say even with the new procedures fingerprinting locations will not change.
The new fingerprinting procedures started in February. The DMV says this will also save the state money but it's unclear how much money.
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