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This entry was published on 2014-12-05
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SECTION 837-O
Search for arson and sex offense conviction records of volunteer firefighter applicants
Executive (EXC) CHAPTER 18, ARTICLE 35
§ 837-o. Search for arson and sex offense conviction records of
volunteer firefighter applicants. 1. Any person who applies for
membership in a fire company, as such term is defined in section three
of the volunteer firefighters' benefit law, or who seeks to transfer as
a member to another fire company, shall be required to authorize the
submission of his or her name and other authorized identifying
information to the division which shall search its files for records
indicating whether the person stands convicted of the crime of arson or
a crime which requires the person to register as a sex offender under
article six-C of the correction law. The chief of the fire company to
which application is made shall provide written notice to the applicant
that a search will be conducted, and if the applicant desires to
proceed, he or she shall complete a search request on the form provided
for this purpose by the division of criminal justice services.

2. Within ten business days of receipt from the applicant, the chief
of the fire company shall send the completed search request form to
either (i) the sheriff's department of the county in which the fire
company is located, or (ii) the office of fire prevention and control,
as follows:

(a) the sheriff's department of the county in which the fire company
is located shall be responsible for receiving the search requests and
processing the search requests with the division within ten business
days of receipt from the chief of the fire company, unless the county
legislative body adopts and files with the office of fire prevention and
control pursuant to the municipal home rule law a local law providing
that the sheriff's department shall not have such responsibility;

(b) in all other instances where a county legislative body has adopted
a local law pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the office of
fire prevention and control shall be responsible for receiving search
requests and forwarding the search requests to the division.
The office of fire prevention and control is hereby authorized to
establish a communication network with the division for the purpose of
forwarding search requests and receiving search results pursuant to
paragraph (b) of this subdivision.

3. (a) All searches concerning the application for membership in a
fire company shall be conducted under the provisions of subdivision six
of section eight hundred thirty-seven of this article without the
assessment of any fee to the applicant or fire company and shall pertain
solely to ascertaining whether the applicant stands convicted of arson
or a crime which requires the person to register as a sex offender under
article six-C of the correction law.

(b) The results of the search shall be communicated in writing, within
ten business days of receipt from the division, to the chief of the fire
company from which the search request originated by either the sheriff's
department or the office of fire prevention and control, and shall be
kept confidential by the chief, except as provided in paragraph (c) of
this subdivision. The results of the search shall only state either
that: (i) the applicant stands convicted of arson and/or a crime which
requires the person to register as a sex offender under article six-C of
the correction law, or (ii) the applicant has no record of conviction
for arson or a crime which requires the person to register as a sex
offender under article six-C of the correction law. The results of the
search shall not divulge any other information relating to the criminal
history of the applicant.

(c) At the time an applicant is advised that he or she is ineligible
for membership due to a record of conviction for arson, he or she shall
also be advised of the rights to challenge and appeal the information
contained in the record of conviction as provided in the rules and
regulations of the division. The applicant shall continue to be barred
from membership until all administrative and judicial challenges to the
accuracy of such information or appeals therefrom, are ultimately
resolved in his or her favor, or if such a determination is
unchallenged.

(d) If a person is denied election or appointment as a volunteer
member of a fire company based in whole or in part on the fact that he
or she stands convicted of a crime which requires the person to register
as a sex offender under article six-C of the correction law, he or she
shall be advised by the fire company of the rights to challenge and
appeal the information contained in the record of conviction as provided
in the rules and regulations of the division, and provided by the fire
company with a copy of the criminal history record received by the fire
company and with a copy of sections seven hundred fifty-two and seven
hundred fifty-three of the correction law.