The NYS Court Officer-Trainee Background Investigation Process
Each candidate being considered for appointment is required to undergo a background investigation by the Applicant Verification Unit. This investigation includes a review of the candidate’s work history, academic experience, military record, criminal record and other pertinent information.
Personal History Questionnaire. When a candidate participates in the physical ability test, he or she will be given a Personal History Questionnaire to take home and complete in detail. The candidate will also be scheduled for a future appointment to meet with an Investigator. This questionnaire includes sections on personal information (date of birth, marital status, citizenship, etc); residence record (address and length of residence for each residence for the previous ten years); education record (schools, dates of attendance, levels of achievement); work history (name and address of employer, dates of service, nature of work performed, reasons for leaving); arrest and summons record (charges, dates, locations and dispositions); military service records (dates of service, branch of armed services, rank achieved, nature of discharge); judgement history (dates, nature and amounts of all unpaid, outstanding judgements); and other miscellaneous areas of inquiry. The candidate will be required to pay a processing fee of $75.00 for fingerprinting at the time the candidate first meets with his or her Investigator. An additional fee may be required in order to obtain employment records from the Social Security Administration.
The Investigation. The candidate is to complete the questionnaire in detail and bring it to the first meeting with his or her Investigator. At that time the Investigator will meet with the candidate and review the questionnaire and ensure that it is filled out accurately and completely. The candidate will be asked to sign a number of forms authorizing the release of information from former employers, the military, schools, public agencies and other appropriate sources. During the course of the background investigation, it is important for the candidate to remain in close contact with the Investigator, keeping him or her informed of any change in status or of any other information pertinent to the investigation.
Conduct of the Investigation. The Investigator will review the Personal History Questionnaire and verify the information it contains. As the investigation unfolds, additional information may be requested of the candidate or from other outside sources. The Investigator will conduct the investigation in a professional and expeditious manner but the many variables which are unique to individual candidates make it impossible to predict exactly how long the total process will take for any one individual. The investigation process generally requires three (3) to five (5) months to complete. The candidate should periodically call his or her Investigator to monitor the progress and to see if any further information is required or if the candidate can be of assistance in obtaining information from other parties. Candidates who do not cooperate with their Investigator may be disqualified from appointment.
The Investigation Report. When all information has been received, the Investigator will write a report of his or her factual findings. There are no conclusions drawn or recommendations made by the Investigators; they only compile and report facts. The candidate is identified in the report solely by an identification number. The candidate will then be scheduled for a personal interview with a psychologist and/or psychiatrist who will review the results of the candidate’s psychological tests and investigation report. Candidates found qualified at this stage will be referred to the Court Officer Evaluation Board.