Sheriff’s office offers background checks

LABELLE — On March 20, Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden announced that the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office ACCESS Background Check System is up and running, available for use by businesses, nonprofits and Hendry County’s citizens.

The HCSO is the first in the nation to implement this new system, which was created by BI2 Technologies and Digital Trusted Identity Services (DTIS) in partnership with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA).

“ACCESS is cost-effective, quick and convenient,” Sheriff Whidden said. “The days of Hendry County citizens needing to drive long distances to be fingerprinted at a store in a strip mall somewhere they need for work, or even to coach their children’s sports teams, are over. Now, all they need to do is complete a short form online at access-background-check.com, schedule an appointment with our trained staff at the sheriff’s office, come in, show identification and get fingerprinted. It’s that easy. Appointments can even be made for the same day.”

Last month, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office implemented I.R.I.S., an innovative biometric technology system that identifies offenders by comparing the unique features of their irises against a national database. “ACCESS is different than I.R.I.S.,” Sheriff Whidden continued, “but it will also help keep members of our community safe. Daycare centers, churches, youth athletics, hospitals and, of course, public and private schools are just a few examples of organizations that need to have their employees and volunteers fingerprinted.”

Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association said: “The NSA is delighted by the launch of ACCESS in Hendry County. We expect that other counties in Florida will be up and running in the coming weeks. As was the case in Hendry County, the hardware, the software, implementation, installation, maintenance and support products and services required to perform fingerprint-based background checks are available at no upfront or ongoing cost to the sheriff’s office.”

The HCSO will be open for background checks Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and again, after lunch, from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Most people being fingerprinted,” Sheriff Whidden said, “will be in and out of our office in less than 15 minutes. Even better, the results are typically available very quickly, too, and they go right to the individual and organization which requested the background check. The sheriff’s office never sees or has access to any of the applicants’ information. This will save everyone a lot of time. Organizations or citizens who have questions about ACCESS or need help to schedule an appointment are welcome to call my office at 863-674-5600 or email access@hendrysheriff.org.”

About the National Sheriffs’ Association
The NSA is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professional in the U.S., representing more than 3,000 elected Sheriffs across the nation, and with a total membership of more than 20,000. NSA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of law enforcement, public safety and criminal justice. Throughout its 78-year history, NSA has also served as an information resource for all law enforcement, as well as state governments and the federal government.

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