The fingerprinting craze has spread wildly across this country. As with any craze, we must understand what the real benefits of using fingerprints are and then ask ourselves does fingerprinting really provide everything needed to make quality decisions that reduce risk and improve my organization.
The Real Value of Fingerprinting.
Step 1 is to make sure we understand what fingerprinting really does. Fingerprinting first and foremost is a valuable tool used to verify someone’s identity using biometric data that is difficult (although not impossible) to falsify. While establishing fingerprinting as an identity verification system is a fairly expensive proposition for many firms today, it is a valuable (though not infallible) tool for this purpose. When tied to a criminal search of a state’s police records or to the FBI database of records (which combines both state and federal criminal records), the fingerprint reveals arrests record and criminal information as it is posted to those repositories.
The real value of fingerprinting therefore is as a tool for verifying identity and for obtaining lawful access to arrest record information. Access, cost and biometric data collection challenges have been the issues that have challenged the fingerprint industry over the years but those challenges, do not in our opinion, override these two key valuable aspects of securing and using fingerprint records where the laws require or allow it.
Busting The Longstanding Myths About Fingerprinting.
The problems arise when we start believing the myth about the value of the FBI database as a quality or single source for criminal record history information. If I have heard it once, I have heard it a million times, “the FBI knows everything criminal.” It is time that you bust through the myths that many hold near and dear to their heart (and in their legislation as well as their background screening practices) and start getting to the truth about the limitations of fingerprinting and police records.
The PeopleFacts team of course wants to give credit where credit is due by thanking the team of amazing professionals from the National Association for Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) for kicking off this myth-busting a few years ago when they published a “mythbuster” paper on this topic. You can visit www.napbs.com to view that paper. We have incorporated and enhanced the 6 myths NAPBS originally addressed and have added some of our own thoughts and data about each of those myths. As with any myth in life, some truth belies the myths we believe. We will be sharing more about that truth and about the myths in our NewsTrak, published articles and even our client education and webinar series.