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Sheriff’s Office Announces Change in Fingerprint Services

BY LEANN DILBECK –

Polk County Sheriff Mike Godfrey is announcing that he will have additional staff in place each Thursday from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. to provide fingerprint services for those in need for background checks in conjunction with employment, gun ownership, etc.  This service had previously been provided during regular working hours but Godfrey explained the jail population is forcing the new procedure, “Because of the overwhelming demands placed upon our jail staff due to the increased and fluctuating jail populations we are currently experiencing, as of May 21, 2014, I will be limiting the availability of this facility in providing fingerprints for employers and others required to have fingerprint-based background checks. As the Automated Fingerprint Identification system (AFIS) is located within the secure confines of the current jail, public access must be limited when detainees/prisoners are being moved within the jail, to court or in and out for bookings and appointments. As only two persons are normally working the Dispatch and Detention Center at any one time, their time and attention can only be stretched so far without placing themselves, the detainees/inmates and the public in harm’s way. I am aware that several residents have had to return numerous times in order to get their prints done.”

Godfrey said he hopes the change will prevent local citizens from making multiple trips to obtain the fingerprints needed for their employment or gun ownership. “I am aware teaching, nursing and banking as well as multiple other businesses now require a fingerprint background check and wish to advise those providers to please call myself or my Jail Administrator Vicki Hendrix at 479-394-2511 if you will be having a large group of persons needing prints at the same time. We will work with those local businesses to get their fingerprints done as expeditiously as possible.”

Godfrey added, “If you are provided a fingerprint card, please do not fold or bend it or fill out any of the information before bringing it in. Our machine does all of this for you. If the fingerprint card has been excessively handled, it will jam up our printers. Please keep your cards in a flat and dry condition.”

The service will remain at no charge to local residents. “There may come a time when we will be forced to share the costs of providing this service to our citizens, but as of now, Polk County Sheriff’s Office will continue providing the prints at no cost to Polk County residents, however, we will be initiating a $5.00 charge per card for residents and businesses from other counties as of that date also.”

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