Egg Harbor Township is considering an amendment that would require all of the township's several hundred volunteer coaches to complete a new background check every five years.
The township, which boasts dozens youth sports and other activities, has required all new coaches undergo a background check since 2007. Coaches pay the $26 fee up front and are reimbursed half that fee after the fact.
Recreation Director Bob Lincolncq said no individual cases have been brought to his attention of coaches who passed the original screening having a subsequent problem, but there's a need to be proactive since "anything can happen."
“A coach can be on my approved list, but several years after fact he could do something and we won't know about it,” he said.
Under the current system, Lincoln said the State Police check the coach’s criminal record against a list of targeted offenses — a variety of drug, property and violent offenses — and make a “yes” or “no” determination.
“It doesn’t tell me what the coach did,” he said. “It tells me, as per the law, that one of the offenses has been violated.”
Lincoln said coaches who fail the background check have the option of obtaining their records from the State Police and bringing them to a three-person appeals board made up of township officials.
The amendment would require coaches to go through this process once every five years. It provides a “sunset” for the approvals, he said.
“It was clear to us that anything less than five (years) would be pretty tough to do, but five isn’t that inconvenient,” he said.
Committeewoman Laura Pfrommer said the move comes just in time for spring sign-ups.
“That ordinance is just making the kids safe,” she said after its introduction Wednesday. “I think this is going to be a good ordinance for all of us.”
The amending ordinance will be considered after a public hearing scheduled Feb. 13.
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