Back to the Nov-Dec 2022 issue

Can Police Departments Now Share Criminal Background Check Data?

Criminal Background Checks

Q: Can my city’s police department provide the full results of a criminal background check to the hiring authority?

LMC: Yes, a clarifying law change as of Aug. 1, 2022, now authorizes a city’s law enforcement agency to share criminal history data to either the hiring or licensing authority of the city requesting background checks for applicants, licensees, or current employees. Previously, the full criminal history data was only accessible from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The authorized law enforcement agency and the hiring or licensing authority must maintain the criminal history data securely and act consistently with Minnesota statutes, including written notification by a hiring or licensing authority to the individual if they deny an individual a position of public employment or disqualify from a license, solely or in part because of the individual’s prior conviction of a crime. Additionally, the hiring or licensing authority must have a Joint Powers Agreement in place with the BCA and a Federal Bureau of Investigation Originating Agency Identifier (FBI ORI) to access data elements from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For more information, see the LMC Background Checks: The ABC’s of BCA Data information memo at

Answered by Assistant Human Resources Director Joyce Hottinger:


Q: What does it mean to be bonded? Am I automatically bonded under my city’s policy with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) policy?

LMC: “Bonded” in this context refers to a type of insurance. State law requires the clerk and treasurer to furnish bonds. It also authorizes the council to require a bond from any other officer or employee. These bonds protect the city from improper actions on the part of the bonded person.

LMCIT’s bond program makes available all the bond coverage and limits that cities and city officials need. LMCIT coordinates bond coverage with the city’s other coverage to avoid gaps, overlaps, and inconsistencies. Most cities obtain their bond coverage through LMCIT. For more information, see the LMCIT Property, Crime, Bond, and Petrofund Coverage Guide at

Answered by Research Analyst Angie Storlie:

Independent Contractors

Q: Can we pay someone for completing specific tasks (e.g., snow removal, transcription, mowing) and not run it through payroll?

LMC: It will depend on whether the individual meets the definition of an independent contractor. Misclassification of an independent contractor can have far-reaching ramifications for the city, including, but not limited to: workers’ compensation liability, unemployment insurance penalties, Fair Labor Standards Act obligations, pension and insurance benefits, wrongful termination lawsuits, and vicarious liability to the city for these worker’s negligent actions.

While a city does not need to worry about all the aspects of payroll when it comes to payments to true independent contractors, an agreement should be established with the contractor outlining expectations, insurance requirements, and other terms as needed.

Get detailed information on making the distinction between an employee or independent contractor and access a model independent contractor agreement in the LMC Employee or Independent Contractor information memo at

Additional assistance is available through the LMCIT Contract Review Service, a free program that helps guard member cities from problems that can arise in contractual relationships. The focus is on insurance and liability provisions that may adversely affect a city’s interests. Learn more about this service at

Answered by Research Analyst Angela Storlie: