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  • Outside BI Agencies

    Anyone experience processing with companies that do the backgrounds for the city departments?Why do some cities use these companies? Do these background investigators give an opinion on whether or not they feel the candidate is a good choice in their submitted report? I know that they are not the final decision makers of course.Do BI's play games when gathering info? For example, asking questions when they have an idea of what the answer is.I would imagine a BI would be upfront if there was important info lacking or a dq was inevitable. Is a candidate entitled to any of the report that is put together? I appreciate the information here as always.
    Last edited by JSL0506; 08-23-2008, 03:53 PM. Reason: typos

  • #2
    Originally posted by JSL0506 View Post
    Anyone experience processing with companies that do the backgrounds for the city departments?Why do some cities use these companies? Do these background investigators give an opinion on whether or not they feel the candidate is a good choice in their submitted report? I know that they are not the final decision makers of course.Do BI's play games when gathering info? For example, asking questions when they have an idea of what the answer is.I would imagine a BI would be upfront if there was important info lacking or a dq was inevitable. Is a candidate entitled to any of the report that is put together? I appreciate the information here as always.
    I know of no Law Enforcement agencies which "outsource" background investigations. There may be some, but they'd be rather rare. At the end of the day, it would be far more cost effective to have the BI's run "in-house". The Officer(s) assigned to Background Investigations are thoroughly familiar with the department's criteria for advancement in the process, or disqualification. Keep in mind too, that more often than not, the Background Investigator is not the one who determines whether or not an applicant remains in the process. He/she reports their finding to a Case Manager, or someone else in the hiring chain. The Background Investigator's contact with an applicant is pretty well governed by agency policy. It is often a matter of policy that a BI not discuss reasons for DQ with an applicant.

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    • #3
      Outsourcing background investigations, or portion of them, is quite common in California, especially at smaller police departments. Most of the investigators are retired police officers. I think the practice was instituted primarily to speed up the hiring process. In addition, as privacy and anti-discrimination laws have become more complex, it takes longer to get up to speed on how to do an investigation correctly.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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      • #4
        As a former police officer who did BI's for the pd and who currently works for a company that does BI's for police departments and the federal government I can tell you this much:
        Often questions are asked that the answer is already known, just to make sure the candidate is honest.
        If the BI is for a PD then you do not have access to the file in most cases (actually I have never heard of them disclosing the BI to the candidate ever).
        Most often, regardless of who does the BI, the information gathered is submitted in a report for review by the Chief or deciding individuals. Occasionally opinions are asked but not as a rule.
        Hope the info helps

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DAL View Post
          Outsourcing background investigations, or portion of them, is quite common in California, especially at smaller police departments. Most of the investigators are retired police officers. I think the practice was instituted primarily to speed up the hiring process. In addition, as privacy and anti-discrimination laws have become more complex, it takes longer to get up to speed on how to do an investigation correctly.
          Well, you learn something new every day. Outsourcing isn't the norm in Alabama, yet. Didn't realize the practice was all that widespread in Calif. Thanks for the info DAL.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JSL0506 View Post
            Do these background investigators give an opinion on whether or not they feel the candidate is a good choice in their submitted report?
            One of the functions of a BI is to determine whether there is anything in your personal history that meets the department's criteria for DQ. If something is found that meets that criteria, it would not be unreasonable for him to make a DQ recommendation.

            Originally posted by JSL0506 View Post
            Do BI's play games when gathering info? For example, asking questions when they have an idea of what the answer is.
            Asking a question you already know the answer to is a legitimate investigative technique, particularly if you are dealing with a sensitive area of someone's background. Seeing if they lie helps you to better determine their character and level of honesty.

            Originally posted by JSL0506 View Post
            I would imagine a BI would be upfront if there was important info lacking or a dq was inevitable.
            Not necessarily. Backgrounds are complex and there is too much to weigh. I never made up my mind until I got to the end of my report. Plus, no matter what the BI recommends, he can always me overruled or find something damaging out after he talks to you. For this reason, it's not a good idea to tell the applicant which way you are leaning.

            Originally posted by JSL0506 View Post
            Is a candidate entitled to any of the report that is put together?
            In California you have a right to view most (but not all) of your background package. However, the authority for doing this is complicated and based more on case law than a clear cut statute. Because much is open to interpretation, it may be necessary to go to court, have a judge review your file in camera (privately) and determine what may be released to you and what may not. The authority for this can be found in JOHNSON v. WINTER (1982) 127 CA3d 435 which is at http://online.ceb.com/CalCases/CA3/127CA3d435.htm

            Opinions as to how this decision are to be applied may vary from agency to agency. One opinion from the San Diego City Attorney may be found at http://docs.sandiego.gov/memooflaw/ML-86-74.pdf

            Most agencies are not familiar with this area of law and may initially refuse your request. You will probably have to hire an attorney and have him make a formal request through the city or county attorney (depending on which agency you applied with) before you can get a copy of the report.
            Last edited by L-1; 08-24-2008, 01:13 AM.
            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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            • #7
              Thank you for the information as always. I was wondering why some candidates will have their background done with the actual department officers and others with the outside agency.
              Last edited by JSL0506; 08-27-2008, 11:07 PM. Reason: s

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