Sex Offender Policy

Townships mixed on background checks, offender policy

November 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Plainfield Township is facing harsh criticism regarding their lack of a policy requiring background checks on potential employees (see related story page 1), and their decision not to fire a firefighter who was convicted of a sex offense, but in fact the township is not alone. Cannon Township also does not require background checks for potential employees, although Clerk Bonnie Blackledge said the township fire department does do background checks on their new hires. “In light of what happened with Plainfield Township, we probably will,” she said. Blackledge said the general background check the fire department uses would indicate if a person was on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. She said the department recently declined hiring an individual because of their driving record, which showed up during the course of the background check. Courtland Township Clerk Marilyn Crosby said that township also does not have a policy regarding background checks or employing sex offenders. She said the fire chief does background checks on potential fire department employees. “We do it for their driving record,” she said, and added that the application asks about criminal history, which would also show up on the criminal background check. Grattan Township also does not have a background check policy in place for potential employees, said Supervisor Frank Force. Again, he said the fire department does do background checks. “It’s kind of a new concept, really,” he said. “I don’t think we do regular background checks much less sex offender investigations.” However, he said his zoning assessor did do background checks on all employees several years ago. “Someone brought it to our attention that there was a sex offender living in close proximity to a school, so we checked and sure enough, he is.” The individual is not an employee or associated with the township, but the assessor, a retired police officer, checked to see if any staff was on the sex offender registry. Force said the recent publicity over a township employee on the sex offender registry has his township developing a policy. However, it will probably not be ready for consideration by the board at their next meeting. “They are still working on the concept and wording. It is still probably very preliminary.” The City of Rockford does […]