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No more fingerprinting-for-free by Batavia police

Updated: January 7, 2013 6:49AM

BATAVIA — The Police Department’s practice of providing free fingerprinting services is about to change.

Aldermen this week approved a new $35 fee for fingerprinting services, which will be available only for residents and people who work within the city limits.

Police Chief Gary Schira said for years the department has not charged for public fingerprinting required for background checks for personal employment, park district youth sports coaches or visa applications.

But with the increasing volume of those requests and the manpower spent on performing the tasks, Schira recommended the department begin charging for the service.

Schira said excluding arrestees, the Batavia police fingerprinted 562 people from June 2011 to June 2012, with the majority being for park district employees, summer help and volunteers. New prospective bank employees seeking employment outside the city limits but with branch offices in Batavia were also seeking the free service.

Schira said the actual cost for the fingerprinting is about $23.51 a person.

“We estimate it takes 30 minutes from start to finish for the community service officer/police officer and another 15 minutes for the records tech to complete each fingerprint applicant,” Schira said, adding that is equal to about 421.5 manhours in a year’s time.

City Administrator Bill McGrath said most other cities charge a fee for fingerprinting, and Batavia has been drawing people seeking fingerprinting who work at other businesses or are active in other cities.

“If we were better equipped with personnel, I suppose we could offer the service and raise the fee for those without a tie, but we are not at this time,” McGrath said.

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