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Article updated: 12/12/2012 4:59 PM

Batavia to start charging for fingerprinting

By Susan Sarkauskas

No longer will the Batavia Police Department do fingerprinting for free for everyone.

The city council last week decided to start charging $30 per request.

And you now have to live, work, volunteer or have some other tie to Batavia.

According to a memo to the city council, the number of people seeking fingerprinting for background checks for jobs and volunteer positions has increased. City Administrator Bill McGrath believes it was due to more jobs requiring such checks (particularly for people who work in or around children), and because Batavia didn't charge anything, unlike neighboring towns.

From June 2011 to June 2012, the police department fingerprinted 562 people for noncriminal reasons. Of those, 209 were Batavia Park District coaches, volunteers and employees, and 100 were coaches and volunteers with Batavia Youth Baseball. The others were applicants for liquor licenses, firefighter and police jobs; for private-sector jobs, including nurses and bank employees; solicitors; and for adoptions and visas. Seven people had it done just to see their own criminal history.

It takes police about 45 minutes to fingerprint and complete paperwork for each case, and Police Chief Gary Schira estimated the actual cost of doing so is $23.51.

It is done by appointment. On weekdays, a community service officer does it during the day, but otherwise, a police officer does it.

The fingerprinting charge is on top of charges to run the prints through the state police's and FBI's criminal history databases. Those are about $45 apiece, according to McGrath.

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