There are many times when results are received in the afternoon from applicants who had fingerprinting done in the morning, said Letty Lohman, senior manager of employment services at Orange County Public Schools.

"That's very meaningful because these folks are waiting to work their first day in a school," she said. "The school may have had a position vacant, so they are anxious to get a teacher or a paraprofessional in the classroom. We get results so quickly that it keeps the employment process going."

Easy and Safe

The software being used in Florida is based on a system Lockheed Martin originally developed for the FBI. Lockheed also developed a "store and forward capability" to store digital prints, forward them to the end recipient, and conduct various accounting and financial tracking functions. The fingerprint scanning hardware was developed by Integrated Biometric Technology.

Lockheed Martin runs the system for the state on a transaction fee basis.

"The state did not want to have to procure the hardware and software or find employees who could handle maintenance of the system," Otsuki said. "We provide the software, the hardware and the maintenance, and we recover that cost via the transaction fee that's charged to the applicant."

Lockheed Martin also reimburses the school for taking the actual prints, providing the school district with additional revenue.

Since the onset of the contract, Florida has processed more than 70,000 applicants electronically.

"This equipment has been a godsend because we can ensure that everyone's cleared before they start, and it's not disruptive to any school or work location," Sills said. "Plus, as a parent, you can feel assured that those staff members your child is coming in contact with have passed the background check."

Justine Brown  |  Contributing Writer