(WBNG Binghamton) Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to strengthen background checks for people applying for volunteer fire departments.
The bill was signed into law Monday. It requires applicants for volunteer fire organizations to submit to a background check for any prior sex offense convictions.
"Firefighters are often in a position where they serve and protect vulnerable members of their communities - which is why it is imperative that our volunteer firefighter organizations are staffed with highly qualified and dedicated individuals," Governor Cuomo said. "By allowing these groups to screen for sexual offenders and remove any individuals who have been convicted of sexual offenses, we are supporting some of our most important local volunteer groups and taking a strong step toward having safer communities across the state."
The bill would also allow individual fire companies to determine if the prospective volunteer is eligible to become part of the department if it is found that the person has been convicted of a registrable sex offense.
The law passed the State Senate and State Assembly in June.