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Finger-pointing over fingerprinting: State of Missouri, contractor facing criticism

ST. LOUIS - If patience is a virtue, then the virtues of those coming and going from a St. Charles storefront are being tested this week. You see there’s a business inside this business, called Identogo. The state of Missouri recently awarded it a contract for applicant fingerprint services, which started August 6.

“My orientation is August 22, so I can’t wait until September 22 to have my background check done. It’s just way too late,” said Rae Krawzik.

Krawzik is starting a new job as a substitute teacher in the Francis Howell School District. Before she begins, she needs to get fingerprinted.

“There were four people in front of me and that it would be an hour and a half then told the lady who walked in behind me it would be a two-hour wait,” she said.

Kyle Wright is trying to become an EMT. We watched him walk in and walk right out. He said the earliest they told him he could get fingerprinted was September 18.

Inside DuBourg Hall on the Saint Louis University campus, more than a dozen people sat waiting, wondering, and wishing they were anywhere else, but here they sat waiting to get fingerprinted.

“It opened yesterday at 10 a.m. Me and my roommate got here at 10 and we were 65th in line. We had a friend who stayed here from 9:30 until 4:30 and she was only number 30,” said Miranda Olson.

Though not affiliated with SLU, Indentogo operates an office on the SLU campus for public fingerprinting services.

“I would say the staff is doing great, I think it’s this new system that isn’t going fast enough. Right now the systems down so now we’re all kind of stuck here waiting because of a network issue," Olson said.

Our investigation found that of the 79 Missouri locations listed on Identogo’s website, only 25 are operational. Locally, only the St.Charles, SLU campus, Union, and Warrenton locations are open. Identogo is a brand name used by an international augmented identity company IDEMIA. A company spokesperson told Fox 2’s Mike Colombo that due to contracting issues the state had with the previous vendor, IDEMIA got a late start with its deployment of enrollment centers. Be it bad luck, bad timing, or bad planning, it’s just bad for those looking to get on with their lives.

“I’m ready to get in there and start working but if I can’t get my background check cleared, then it’ll be even longer until I can get in there," Krawzik said.

“I would like to get it wrapped up today, right now, if I could. But I can’t,” Kyle Wright said.

An IDEMIA spokesperson said it'll have nearly 40 more locations open across the state by the end of next week. In the meantime, it's sending an enrollment RV to the St. Louis area, plus additional agents from other states, to establish temporary enrollment centers here.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, three additional IDEMIA permanent sites opened Wednesday in Kahoka, Kansas City, and Trenton. Six more sites in Clinton, Macon, Marshall, Sikeston, Warrenton, and West Plains were scheduled to open Thursday.

A full list of current and future Idemia locations can be found at Identogo.com. People can check the list of locations available at the link shared with you. It is updated as more locations and opening dates become available. The contract is for one year and the vendor’s payment comes from user fees, not from the state.