How to Get a Personal Police Check

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In most jurisdictions, you can get a personal police check through your local police department. Some departments require that you come in person; others will process your request online. Generally, there is a small processing fee to obtain a copy of your record.

Step 1

If you want to get a copy of your personal police record, you should first call your local police department to find out what its requirements are. You should call the nonemergency number for the police department; that number is usually listed at the front of your phone book. You also may be able to find the number on the department's website. You need to find out whether a police check or police record request can be made online or if you will need to go in person.

Step 2

Follow the exact requirements on the request form. You will probably need to provide proof of identity (with a driver's license or passport) and pay a small fee (generally under $20).

Step 3

To be more thorough, you make a records check with the sheriff's department in your county and the attorney general's office in your state. Because some local jurisdictions maintain records only locally, if you want to ensure that you have a complete copy of your personal police record, you should check with each jurisdiction.

Step 4

If you want to obtain a federal background check in addition to your local police check, you need to follow the requirements set out on the FBI website. For a federal police check or background check, you need to have your fingerprints taken on a specific form and send that form, along with a cashier's check or money order, to the FBI office.


  • Some local personal police checks do not show all criminal arrests or convictions. To be completely thorough, make a request to each police department where you have lived as well as making a request for a federal police background check.


  • If you have a common name, it is especially important to provide specific identifying information (date of birth and Social Security number) when you make your request.


About the Author

Rita Radostitz lives in Eugene, Oregon. She has written about human rights, health & fitness and interesting people for years. Her articles have appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Oregon Quarterly and on various websites. Radostitz holds a Masters of Science in journalism with distinction from the University of Oregon and a law degree cum laude from Villanova University.

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  • Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images