The FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) selected Albuquerque-based Personnel Security Consultants, Inc. (PSC), owned and operated by Navajo woman Michele Justice, to accelerate fingerprinting and background checks on prospective workers—expressly those who work with children—for American Indian tribes and tribal organizations, reports the Associated Press.
Since 1996, the FBI has collected fingerprints—taken the outdated way, rolled in ink and mailed—from the BIA. The new electronic process will expedite criminal history checks mandated by the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act.
The former system took up to six months to return results, often causing tribes to decline an interviewee or hire someone before receiving a complete background investigation, Justice says. Now checks take five days or less, and special cases involving child-related emergencies can be turned around within 24 hours.
Justice’s firm will be the liaison for fingerprint technical assistance and training services for more than 200 tribes, in addition to training tribal workers on background investigations. The child protection law requires background checks on volunteers, consultants, contractors and employees in regular contact with children—i.e. teachers, health or social service workers, police officers, etc.
Justice launched PSC in 2004 after six years with the BIA. “I saw this continuing issue — the tribes would ask for help and there was just no real help for them,” she said. “There is no way for the BIA, with all its work, to respond rapidly.”