[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hamilton 12-21-2020 by Ord. No. 1941-2020. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this article:
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Township of Hamilton Police Department or his/her designee.
- CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD BACKGROUND CHECK
- A determination of whether a person has a criminal record by cross-referencing that person's name, fingerprints, social security number and date of birth with those on file with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Identification (SBI) Division and the State Bureau of Identification in the New Jersey State Police.
- CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD INFORMATION or CHRI
- Information collected by criminal justice agencies concerning persons and stored in the computerized databases of the New Jersey State Police SBI Criminal History Information System, the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems or other state computerized repositories containing criminal history record information consisting of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, indictments, or other formal criminal charges, and any dispositions arising therefrom, including convictions, dismissals, correctional supervision and release.
- The Township of Hamilton Police Department.
- An individual 16 years of age or older who receives compensation from the Township or a youth program to perform services for a youth program and has the potential for unsupervised direct access to youth.
- The response provided by the Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of State Police, to the request for a criminal history background check pursuant to N.J.S.A. 15A:3a-1 et seq.
- QUALIFIED PARTICIPANT
- An employee or volunteer who has completed a criminal history background check revealing no disqualifying information.
- SPONSORED PROGRAM
- Any youth program which receives benefits, either directly or indirectly, including but not limited to the provision of funding or equipment from the Township.
- SUPPORTED PROGRAMS
- Any program which, while not directly sponsored by the Township with funding, the providing of equipment or other benefits, uses Township facilities, including but not limited to sports fields and Township buildings.
- Any individual 16 years of age or older who, on an uncompensated basis, performs services for a youth program and has the potential for unsupervised direct access to youth.
- VOLUNTEER REVIEW OPERATION or VRO
- The unit located within the State Bureau of Investigation in the New Jersey State Police that is responsible for administering criminal background checks for volunteers and employees for youth programs as specified in this article.
- Any individual under 18 years of age.
- YOUTH PROGRAMS
- Any program which allows for participation in activities or services by persons under 18 years of age, including, but not limited to, sporting activities, passive recreation groups, clubs, camps, field trips, cultural organizations, social groups and other activities or services.
The cost of the background checks are to be borne by the volunteer or employee or by the youth organization. The cost is the current program fee as determined by the Volunteer Review Operation. Only a qualified participant may serve as an employee or volunteer of a Township-sponsored or Township-supported youth program.
A person shall be disqualified from serving as an employee or volunteer of a youth program if that person's criminal history record background check reveals a record of conviction of any of the following crimes or offenses:
N.J.S.A. 2C:11 Homicide: all offenses.
N.J.S.A. 2C:12 Assault; endangering; threats: all offenses.
N.J.S.A. 2C:13 Kidnapping: all offenses.
N.J.S.A. 2C:14 Sexual offenses: all offenses.
N.J.S.A. 2C:15 Robbery: all offenses.
N.J.S.A. 2C:20 Theft: all offenses.
N.J.S.A. 2C:24 Offenses against the family, children and incompetents: all offenses.
N.J.S.A. 2C:35 Controlled dangerous substances: all offenses except Paragraph (4) of Subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.
Conduct in any other state or jurisdiction which, if committed in New Jersey, would constitute any of the crimes or disorderly persons offenses described in Subsection A of this section.
Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize an excluded sex offender as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:7-22 to serve as an employee or volunteer in a youth organization or any other entity from which the excluded sex offender is otherwise statutorily disqualified.
The Township requires that all employees and volunteers of youth programs, either sponsored by the Township or supported by the Township, obtain a criminal history background check, and no person shall be permitted to act as an employee or volunteer of a youth program, either Township-sponsored or -supported, until the results of the criminal history background check have been received and approved by the Chief of Police or his/her designee.
Any person who, through prior compliance with the background check requirements of this article, must provide the written letter of approval, dated within six months of the date of request. All others must complete this article's criminal background check requirements.
Notwithstanding prior compliance with the requirements of this article, no individual shall be permitted to continue as an employee or volunteer of a Township-sponsored or Township-supported youth program unless the latest criminal history background check provided to the Department of Community Services was performed within the preceding five-year period.
It is the responsibility of each youth organization and its management, including officers, directors and coaches, to ensure that all individuals who serve as employees or volunteers of such youth program submit and obtain a criminal history background check and are approved by the Chief of Police or his/her designee as a qualified participant. Refusal or failure by any individual required to submit to such a background check shall result in immediate dismissal from any Township- sponsored youth program, and the refusal or failure of any Township-supported youth program to comply with the requirements of this article shall result in a denial of the use of Township facilities.
Scope of services provided by the Township of Hamilton Police Department:
Maintain current lists of all employees and volunteers of youth organizations subject to this article and verify compliance on a continual basis.
The Chief of Police or his/her designee shall be responsible for the maintenance of all records generated as a result of this article. All such information shall be deemed confidential and maintained in a secure location. Such records shall only be retained for such period of time as is necessary to ensure compliance with this article.
The individual applying for the criminal history background check shall authorize the Chief of Police or his/her designee to be the recipient of the affirmative or negative response from the State Police Bureau of Investigation. If appropriate, the Chief of Police or his/her designee shall then proceed to process the individual's identification card. If the individual wishes to obtain a copy of the criminal history record itself, a request must be submitted to the New Jersey State Police.
If the individual believes that the result of the criminal history background check is factually inaccurate or that the individual's criminal history record is in some way factually inaccurate, the individual must contact the New Jersey State Police directly.
Neither the Chief of Police or his/her designee nor other individuals in the Township government are privy to the specific contents of the applicant's criminal history background check. However, the individual employee or volunteer may obtain a copy of the actual criminal history background check from the New Jersey State Police and may confidentially provide it to the Chief of Police or his/her designee for the purposes of an appeal pursuant to procedure listed below.
If a disqualification notice from the State of New Jersey is received, the volunteer or employee may obtain from the State Police a full criminal history record and any dispute regarding the accuracy or completeness of such record shall be directed to the State Police. If, however, the individual disputes the appropriateness of the disqualification notice on grounds other than the accuracy or completeness of the individual's criminal history record, the individual may appeal the determination by filing a written notice of appeal with the Chief of Police or his/her designee no later than 20 days after receiving the determination. Once an appeal notice is received by the Chief of Police or his/her designee, a meeting with the Appeal Panel shall be scheduled.
There is hereby established, pursuant to this article, an Appeal Panel consisting of the Township Administrator, the Township Chief of Police and the Director of Public Works. Each individual will serve without compensation. The Township Administrator, the Chief of Police and the Director of Public Works may select a designee to serve in their place on the Appeal Panel; said designee must be an employee of the Township and not a volunteer with Township youth organizations as defined within. All Appeal Panel members shall serve without additional compensation. A meeting of the Appeal Panel shall require at least two of its members or designees to be present. Any decision of the Appeal Panel shall require agreement by at least two members or their designees.
The Appeal Panel shall meet with the individual who has filed an appeal and review such information and documentation as may be submitted for consideration. The Appeal Panel may, in its discretion, consider evidence of rehabilitation if documented to the Appeal Panel by clear and convincing evidence.
The Township Administrator shall preside at the appeal and, if deemed appropriate, may take testimony under oath. Technical rules of evidence shall not be applicable and a verbatim recording is not required.
The determination of the Appeal Panel shall be final and not subject to any further appeal. The Appeal Panel may, however, if deemed appropriate by the Chief of Police or his/her designee, agree to reconsider a denied appeal if the individual produces new or additional information.
The Appeal Panel may establish such procedures as it deems appropriate for the processing and hearing of appeals.