Do Background Checks Work?

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

Background checks are a good way for employers to find out more on a potential employee, but it's clear the system has flaws and people can fall through the cracks. Identity theft is a growing problem.

According to local law enforcement, many people with a criminal history are using false identities with no prior record to get hired.

Criminal checks themselves can also be deceiving. Often the criminal will plead down to a lesser charge, so it may only show up as a misdemeanor even though the person was originally arrested for a felony, and as Wausau Police Chief Bill Brandimore points out, sometimes there's no criminal record to find.

"I know some of these pedophiles, when they come to light, they've been doing it for 20 years and they were respected in the community, had no police record and so on."

Organizations that deal with kids say they take special precautions before hiring someone.

Bruce Mikkelson of the local Boy Scouts of America chapter says they do extensive state and national background checks, but they have other policies.

"We also have a policy called two-deep leadership where no child should ever be alone with an adult and it's to protect both people, people from false allegations, but also to protect the young people."