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N4T Investigators: Fingerprint foul-ups

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TUCSON - Daycare workers, dental hygienists, and school bus drivers are among the more than fifty types of jobs or volunteer work requiring a state fingerprint clearance card. The cards are issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety after the applicant's criminal history is checked.

Seventy-three-year-old Lloyd Stone doesn't want to just sit around in retirement. His wife of 48 years died in 2015, but the Green Valley resident is keeping busy. Lloyd is a retired music teacher and today started volunteering at a daycare center. He received his fingerprint clearance card in the mail in late December.

Stone told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "When I looked at it, everything seemed fine until I got to the word that said, 'Sex', and there was the letter F. I nearly dropped the card. It was like, 'Are you kidding me? How do you get that wrong? These are the reasons that we put people through hoops to make sure we're not letting a dangerous person through the door."

That's right, Stone's sex was listed as "female" on his fingerprint card. He's one of four people who told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that their cards listed the wrong gender. And Lloyd says the same mistake was made on the card issued to his neighbor's cleaning lady. So that's five cases we've heard of recently.

"It seems to me that if you can't get something as basic, after they had checked state and federal records, and they can't get your sex right, then can they be trusted to get the really important info. And this is what really makes me upset," Stone said.

Stone called DPS after seeing the mistake and the agency promptly sent a corrected card. The four others whose cards contained mistakes didn't want to be interviewed or have their names used. A DPS spokesperson said he couldn't comment on the other cases without knowing the recipients' names. The spokesperson said, "We don't believe this is a wide-scale problem but without names we cannot verify those claims."

Stone said, "There is no such thing as a small or insignificant detail. I used be an inspector for a company that made cable harness assemblies for airplanes. And every little thing counts."

If you receive a fingerprint clearance card that contains a mistake, you can call DPS at 602-223-2279 or the DPS Public Service Center at 2222 W. Encanto Blvd. in Phoenix. The agency will give you a corrected card at no charge.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at or call our tipline 520-955-4444..

Matthew Schwartz

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