Emergency Medical Services Rule 157.37 was designed to establish guidelines and criteria on the eligibility of persons with criminal backgrounds to be certified as emergency medical services personnel. Occupations Code Chapter 53 states, "a certifying authority may disqualify a person from receiving a certification or deny to a person the opportunity to be examined for a certification because of a person's conviction of a felony or misdemeanor, if the crime directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation."
DSHS does criminal history checks on every applicant whether applying for the first time or renewing a certification or licensure. Having a criminal history does not mean that you cannot be certified or licensed. However, if you do have a criminal history and fail to indicate that on teh application, that is grounds for denial or certification or licensure. To accurately determine eligibility, a more thorough explanation, and additional documentation concerning a conviction(s) is required. The criminal history evaluation process includes all of the following:
- A Department of Public Safety- Crime Records Service background check.
- The applicant must fill out the Criminal History Information packet along with the finger print card and return it to the EMS investigator.
- The finger print card will be run through the Texas DPS finger print system or the FBI finger print system.
- A review of all court documentation, including court sentencing information, conditions of probation, releases from probation, revocation of probation and any other information relating to the applicant criminal history. NOTE: It is the applicants responsibility to ensure that all of this information is supplied to the department.
- A review of any other documentation that may be relevant to the applicants criminal history.
The length of time that it may take to review a criminal history depends on any of the following:
- The applicants submission of the proper documentation.
- The backlog of finger print checks at DPS and/or the FBI. NOTE: Once the applicants finger print card is submitted to one of these agencies the EMS investigator has no control on the how long those agencies require to run the applicants finger prints.
- Other agencies/entities that may have to submit documentation, i.e. courts, employers, probation offices and the military.
Falsification of Criminal History
DSHS does criminal history checks on every applicant. If a candidate does not answer truthfully, it will only delay the application and put him or her at risk for denial of certification or licensure.
Am I eligible for EMS certification?
A determination of certification eligibility based on a criminal background history CANNOT be made by telephone conversation. Our procedure allows us to evaluate your past criminal history only if we have received an application for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Personnel certification or licensure and the correct application fee. An application is available at our forms and resources. Upon receiving the application, a criminal history packet will be sent to the applicant to be filled out and returned to the department. Only then can a final determination be made. Depending on that outcome, you may then be referred to an EMS specialist in one of our EMS field offices for information concerning courses, testing and Emergency Care Attendant (ECA) or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.
DSHS has already reviewed my criminal history!
EMS personnel who have their criminal history background reviewed by DSHS and commit another offense will be subjected to another review of those previous convictions as allowed by Occupations Code Chapter 53. By rule, the certificant/license holder is required to report all convictions within 30 days to the department. NOTE: Once a candidate/certificant/license holder has had a criminal history review all subsequent applications shall be reviewed by the department.
Out-of-state or military convictions
Out of state or military convictions are subjected to FBI fingerprinting through the FBI in Washington, D.C. Candidates/certificants should be aware that there will be a significant delay in receiving a response from the FBI. All military records shall be retrieved by the candidate/certificant and the documents shall be certified by the military as true and correct records.
Enforcement Review Committee for Criminal Background Evaluation
The Enforcement Review Committee (ERC) will make a recommendation for the appropriate disciplinary action or for closure of the case. The applicant will be notified if the ERC recommends denial of certification or licensure, or limitations or restrictions as a condition of certification or licensure. If the ERC determines that an applicant is eligible for certification or licensure, the application will be forwarded for processing. NOTE: The applicant going for initial certification will not be allowed to practice as an EMS certificant holder until they receive the certificate in the mail. See Disciplinary Actions.
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