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ID at your fingertips

Press Photo by Ashley Martin Marge Dengel of the Dickinson Police Department, left, fingerprints Kristi Rajewsky, right, for her job at Investment Centers of America recently. Rajewsky said she felt a bit awkward being fingerprinted, since she had never done it before.

Most people know their fingerprints will be taken should they ever be arrested for committing a crime, but some may be surprised to learn many employers require their employees to be fingerprinted.

Marge Dengel from the Dickinson Police Department is trained in fingerprinting for the Dickinson district. She said in 2008, she fingerprinted an average of two people a week.

"It seems like we're getting more and more," Dengel said. "They're getting more cautious."

Dengel also fingerprints registered sex offenders, but a different agency at the Law Enforcement Center fingerprints those who have been arrested.

She has fingerprinted employees for a wide range of careers, including foster care, security guards and U.S. postal employees.

While Dengel does the fingerprinting, the police department does not keep a file of the fingerprints. She said it's up to the individual to take their fingerprint card to their employers. Their employers often send a card to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and may keep one on file, Dengel said.

"BCI keeps all prints, regardless -- even if the FBI rejects a criminal offense print," Dengel said.

She added many people who get fingerprinted need more than one card of fingerprints. It costs $3 for one card, $5 for two cards and $8 for three cards, she said.

Dengel said those who come in for fingerprinting must have identification with them, such as a driver's license.

Newer fingerprint technology has been developed, but Dengel said she does it the old- fashioned way.

"We still do it with the ink pad. We don't have the electronic fingerprinting," Dengel said.

Paul Stremick, Dickinson Public Schools superintendent, said it's a state law for teachers to be fingerprinted. He said those in administrative and teaching positions are fingerprinted by the Education Standards and Practices Board.

"We don't keep any records on the teachers here," Stremick said. "It's up to the state to maintain that."

Stremick said there is someone trained in the district who does the fingerprinting. Employees also get a background check.

"She fingerprints them right in our office and then we send it either the FBI or BCI -- the Bureau of Criminal Investigation -- and they send us the results (of the background check)," Stremick said.

He added all staff, including secretaries, cooks and custodians, are fingerprinted.

"Anybody who has unsupervised contact with a student must go through a background check and we do that at the local district and we keep it on file," Stremick said.

Those who work in education are not the only ones who have to be fingerprinted for their jobs.

Stacy Elkins, client service manager at Investment Centers of America in Dickinson, said the business fingerprints all employees.

"Even for interns -- anybody who does anything for us has to be fingerprinted," Elkins said. "It's just our company policy."

The Stark County Sheriff's Department gives out free fingerprinting kits for parents. Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said parents just hang on to the fingerprints.

Children are often more comfortable around their parents, so that is why they leave it up to them, he said.

"The parents can do it when they feel it's a good time," Tuhy said. "In case they get lost or something, it's just a good thing to have on file."

He added fingerprints can be useful for several things, including to help solve a crime or help find a missing person.

"It's not only for crimes and all that, it's for any type of identification people can think of. I don't think there's any limitations to it, really," Tuhy said. "It's just like a DNA sample."

Dengel added each person's fingerprints are unique and permanent. She said superficial injuries don't damage the structure of fingerprints, but injuries that destroy deeper layers of skin can affect a fingerprint.