For homes such as Home of Hope, there is no statutory authority to do a fingerprint-based national criminal background check through OSBI and FBI, said Debbie McKinney, OSBI administrative programs officer.
Who receives background checks?
McKinney said that a national background search would be more effective for the state’s care homes for the mentally ill and disabled.
"But the stumbling block there is cost and timeliness,” she said.
State background checks cost $15 and take about 15 minutes. Fingerprint searches cost $41 and take about two weeks, she said. People getting the background check also have to go by the local sheriff’s office or elsewhere to get their fingerprints taken.
"But it’s still very, very important,” McKinney said.
Oklahoma statutes either require or allow for national background checks by those in 18 categories of business or interests.
They range from licenses for locksmiths, bail bondsmen and gem dealers to animal euthanasia technicians, security guards and state Education Department employees who work directly with children.
Sylvia Coslow, supervisor of the OSBI record check unit, said her employees use databases to check backgrounds of roughly 1,200 people in an eight-hour day. Some people just want to check their own records, she said.
"The majority of background check requests we receive I’d say are for purposes of employment,” said Felicia Jackson, OSBI administrative programs officer.
She said the biggest surge in requests have come in the last couple of years for concealed carry permit applications. Last year, the agency processed 22,815 background checks for handguns compared with 9,859 in 2007.
Jackson said the agency includes an area asking why the applicant is requesting the background check. She said probably the most unusual requests are the personal ones.
"Some of them have written on there that they’re checking out their daughter’s boyfriend. And you can do that, and maybe you should,” Jackson said.