Bridge Day Background Check Update
The Bridge Day Commission is updating their background check system to make the process less intrusive for all participants with unique access on Bridge Day. Bridge Day BASE jumpers, rappellers, and vendors have always undergone routine background checks. To help protect participants' privacy, instead of providing their social security and personal information to run the checks, we will run a finger scan, which will perform the same checks without storing any personal information.
"It's a step back on security so everyone can keep their sensitive information safe and private," said Sharon Cruikshank, Chair of the Bridge Day Commission. "We’ve heard some concerns about 'fingerprinting' or saving scans, but we would not do that. We approved this change because we want to be less intrusive, not more so."
The changes are a requirement by the WV State Police Department, but the Bridge Day Commission supports the update. In previous years, personal data was kept on file during the background check process. In the new system, no personal information will be stored. It will only compare the user's finger scan with prints already on file, and only during the few seconds of the database search. If nothing of concern is on record, participants will simply show an ID, and they will be approved.
"No one has ever failed the background checks, and we expect that to continue as it always has," Cruikshank said. "We're not looking for an arrest record or anything; quite frankly, we don't care about that for Bridge Day. The only real flag we’re concerned with is the terrorist watchlist."
The checks are required since jumpers and rappellers are allowed to enter the event with large equipment, bags, and backpacks without going through regular Bridge Day security. The alternative to background checks would be to search every individual chute bag and rappel gear, which would be unnecessary and time consuming for everyone.
We have always supported the rights of our BASE jumpers and rappellers, and will continue to advocate for them. We would not make an update to our policies unless we thought it was truly better for everyone involved in Bridge Day, and we think this update helps our participants further protect the information that is rightfully theirs.
Regardless, if there are still concerns about the changes from our participants, we welcome them to voice any issues to us. We want to make sure we consider any input from jumpers, rappellers and vendors, and so we will be compiling feedback for review. We will also be sharing feedback with the WV State Police Department, which enacted the requirement.
To add your comment to the report, email Bridge Day at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify if you would like your comments added to the report, or if they are off-the-record.
Anyone is also welcome to call us at 304-465-5617 with any additional concerns, questions or comments.