Established: 02/05
FLSA: Non-Exempt
EEO: 4



Under supervision, to perform background investigations and prepare written recommendations regarding employment suitability for sworn and civilian applicants; and to do other work as required.


The Sheriff's Department patrols County roads and rivers, investigates crimes, conducts search and rescue operations, and operates the County jail. The Sheriff's jurisdiction includes the unincorporated areas of the County and within cities which contract for law enforcement services.

The Background Investigator is a civilian position responsible for investigative work and preparing written recommendations regarding employment suitability for individuals seeking employment with the Sheriff's Office, Clackamas County positions that require background checks, and other agencies that contract with the Sheriff's Office for background investigation work. Incumbents determine through investigative procedures an applicant's truthfulness and suitableness for employment based upon department standards.

The Background Investigator differs from the sworn Deputy Sheriff that enforces laws, provides community protection and general law enforcement investigative work. The Background Investigator also differs from the sworn Detective classification that performs complex and difficult criminal investigative work. It also differs from the sworn Evidence Technician that performs specialized, scientific investigation through identification, preservation and analysis of physical evidence.


Duties may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Conducts thorough and complete background investigations; reviews applications for completeness and directs applicants to provide additional information if needed; contacts and conducts interviews of applicants, applicant personal references and applicant employment references.
  2. Locates and reviews information regarding criminal history, police reports, school transcripts, credit reports, driving records and other documentation available regarding applicant's life history.
  3. Conducts discrepancy interviews with applicants and/or personal and employment references to determine truthfulness of documentation or information provided.
  4. Writes letters, reports and written summaries of findings; identifies strengths and weaknesses; makes recommendations regarding suitability for employment.
  5. Confers with manager, supervisor or hiring decision maker to discuss information obtained, scope of investigation(s) and/or to request additional instruction or advice as needed; researches legal or factual issues.
  6. Responds to requests for information; assists outside agencies when appropriately requested to provide background information regarding previous applicant background investigation; communicates with users of background investigations regarding status of an applicant's background investigation; answers applicant questions; refers requests and questions to manager or hiring decision maker as appropriate.
  7. Plans, coordinates and oversees applicant fingerprinting, waiver release signing and notarizing of legal documents, photographing and review of applicant Personal History Statement forms.


Thorough knowledge of: Principles and practices of investigation and research, including interviewing techniques, conflict management, and methods and techniques of negotiation; organizational skills and practices.

Working knowledge of: Principles and procedures of record keeping and reporting; modern office practices and procedures, methods and computer applications; relevant federal, state and local laws, codes, and ordinances including equal employment opportunity laws and Americans with Disabilities Act that are related to the legal requirements of background investigations and hiring practices of applicants.

Skill to: Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; conduct interviews effectively and efficiently with a variety of individuals, including those who may be cautious, unfriendly, or uncooperative; observe, assimilate, remember and recall facts and details; judge individual situations carefully and make discretionary judgments; prioritize work and work independently or as a member of a team using good judgment and decision making skills; establish and maintain effective working relationships with applicants, users and other internal and external agencies and departments; gain cooperation through discussion and persuasion; interpret and apply federal, state, and local policies, procedures, laws and regulations; research, compile, analyze and summarize material into understandable, accurate and legible reports; effectively evaluate the suitability of an applicant and make sound recommendations based on research and analysis; demonstrate sensitivity to diverse cultures and individuals.


Must successfully pass an extensive background investigation including national fingerprint records check.

Must pass a pre-employment drug test.

Driving is required for County business on a regular basis or to accomplish work. Incumbents must possess a valid driver's license, and possess and maintain an acceptable driving record throughout the course of employment.


Any satisfactory combination of experience and training that demonstrates possession of the required knowledge and skills.