City expands background checks

Upgrading a safety program for city workers and residents, Glendale will now conduct national criminal background checks on all employees, volunteers and those who seek permits from the city.

For the last 10 years, the Live Scan program, which uses fingerprints to determine whether potential workers and contacts have a criminal past, checked records in California only. Starting Monday, the city's Live Scan services will tap U.S. Department of Justice files to search all 50 states, officials said Friday.

"We don't want someone coming from another state who has committed an egregious act," said Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian. "In the past, if you were to apply for a tobacco vendor or taxi cab or massage therapy permit, anything where you'd be interfacing with the public, you would undergo a background check. But it only referenced arrests or incidents that took place in California. It seemed logical to expand that and look at other states, as well."

Kassakhian and Glendale Human Resources Director Matt Doyle recommended the shift, which affects everyone from newly hired firefighters and administrative workers, to interns and seniors who volunteer to help the Police Department.

"As we see a spike in identity theft and other crimes across the nation, this added security measure is an important safeguard in terms of personal and community safety," Doyle said in a statement.

In addition to using the service for its own staff, the city offers Live Scan to residents and local businesses for a fee. On Monday that fee will increase $19, and will cost $76 in most cases.

The city offers Live Scan fingerprinting during normal business hours on weekdays at 141 N. Glendale Ave., suite 346. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, call the Administrative Services Department at (818) 550-4700 or visit the Live Scan Services page at

Last month, the House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) to extend a pilot program allowing youth athletic leagues and other organizations to gain access to criminal background checks on workers and volunteers.

The bill would make it easier for private groups to tap federal criminal records and ensure the service is provided at a reasonable cost. That legislation is awaiting action in the Senate.

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