RHINE ORDNANCE BARRACKS, Germany – When some think of being fingerprinted, the scenario usually involves running afoul of the law. But for those being fingerprinted by the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz S3/5/7 Security Office, it could mean employment.
When a prospective employee applies for a job within the garrison, one of the first stops after a tentative offer of employment is the fingerprinting office on Rhine Ordnance Barracks.
“We see ourselves as the first line of verification,” said Peter “Buck” Buchikas, security specialist. “We ensure, to the best of our ability, that prospective employees are fully checked and adjudicated so there is very little possibility we get anyone who could have security or childcare issues and pose a danger to our mission and families.”
Since the start of the pandemic restrictions for military personnel, the security office has processed 61 prospective garrison employees. That may not sound like a huge number, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Baumholder office was closed and the ROB office was doing fingerprints on an emergency basis only, according to Vanessa Golden, S3/5/7 security specialist.
“All of the customers seemed grateful,” Golden said. “I did have one gentleman who came in very nervous, wearing a mask and gloves and he was concerned people in public areas weren’t following the protection and distancing measures. But, he was very nice and calm when it was time to do his fingerprints.”
Even before the pandemic, fingerprinting was by appointment only. However, since the pandemic restrictions started, customers are advised to wear masks. There is only one customer in the small office at a time and proper distance is maintained, except when it isn’t because of the requirements of the job.
“Even though the fingerprinting process is electronic, it still requires us to touch the customer’s hands,” Golden said. “So, we wear masks, gloves, long sleeves and get the process completed as quickly as possible, both for us and the customer.”
The security specialists understand the role they play in the hiring process and both say they try to make what is usually the first stop in someone getting a new job a quick and easy experience.
The prints are transmitted to the FBI and the result is usually in the Personnel Security system within 24 hours to move the hiring process along.