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MO Starts Screening Volunteers

By Maria Carter

Kansas City, MO – The state of Missouri will begin screening volunteers helping out during emergencies. The F-B-I has granted Missouri officials the permanent ability to conduct criminal background check on volunteers. Several states screened volunteers after Hurricane Katrina. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Terri Durdaller says no problems were reported in Missouri, but it's an important step to protect those hit by disaster.

Terri Durdaller: "Whenever you have a crisis situation, there's always going to be criminals who are going to use those times of need and disaster to prey on innocent individuals, and so this is obviously a mechanism that needs to be in place so we can insure that doesn't happen in the state of Missouri."

The state will use finger prints to run criminal background checks on volunteers before they start working with victims after a disaster. Only those convicted of felonies or violent crimes will be barred from helping out.

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