QUESTION: I am currently certified as an EMT with Oregon Emergency Medical Services & Trauma Systems. Recently I was arrested/convicted of a crime. Do I need to tell the Public Health Division?
ANSWER: Reportable Actions form (E-4) (pdf): The EMT is responsible for notifying the Public Health Division per OAR 333-265-0160 within 30 days of any reportable action. Reportable action such as change of name, address, EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES affiliation, arrests or convictions, change in medical status, or restriction in scope of practice needs to be reported on a Reportable Action E-4 form.
QUESTION: I am currently enrolled in an EMT course, and my instructor told us that if you have a prior conviction you may not be allowed to get your EMT certification. I have a Class A Misdemeanor conviction in 1997 for DUII, but I completed my court-ordered probation in 1998. Is that going to prevent me from receiving my EMT certification?
ANSWER: Similar questions regarding past criminal history are often asked. Unfortunately the candidate is seeking a "yes" or "no" answer to question that can only be answered "it depends." Oregon law gives the Public Health Division the authority to deny, suspend, or revoke an EMT certificate because of a criminal conviction, but a criminal convictions does not automatically result in a denial, suspension, or revocation. Each case will be reviewed individually.
To aid the Public Health Division in making its determination, an applicant with a conviction(s) must submit the following documents:
- Certified copies of court-sentencing documents and conditions of probation, if applicable.
- The date of the offense, as well as the county and state where the crime occurred, if not readily apparent from sentencing documents.
- Certified copies of court records that document the applicant's completion of any court-ordered sentencing including parole, probation, restitution, and education. If an evaluation was done pursuant to court order, then the results of the evaluation must be provided.
Public Health Division staff will then evaluate the application, taking into account the following:
- The extent of criminal history and the seriousness of the crime(s), particularly as it relates to public safety.
- Evidence of rehabilitation including completion of court ordered or voluntary treatment or counseling programs. It is the obligation of the applicant to provide evidence for consideration.
- The relationship of the crime to the ability or fitness required to perform the duties of an EMT.
- Length of time which has elapsed since the last criminal activity.
- Age of the applicant at the time the crime(s) was committed.
The EMS Professional Standards Officer makes the final decision on every applicant after consultation with Public Health Division staff. If an applicant is denied certification, he/she may request an administrative hearing to contest the denial.
The following are examples of the types of crimes which have resulted in denial or revocation of certification:
Sex Abuse; Rape; Sodomy; Unlawful Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object; Transporting Visual Depictions of Minors Engaging in Sexually Explicit Conduct; Possession of a Controlled Substance; Manufacture of a Controlled Substance; Distribution of a Controlled Substance; Burglary; Kidnapping; Assault; Robbery; Theft; Murder; Menacing.
QUESTION: It seems as though if I answer the questions on the certification application truthfully, I'll be hassled by the Public Health Division, and be denied certification. Wouldn't it be easier to just check "NO"?
ANSWER: No. Providing a false answer is not a safe way out. First, a "yes" answer does not mean that an individual is disqualified from certification. It does in fact mean that the applicant will receive further communication from the Public Health Division. Second, an untruthful "no" answer, if discovered, can produce some very unpleasant consequences per ORS 682.135 and 682.991. Note that "procuring certification by fraud or deception" is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of one year in jail. In addition, applications for certification and recertification are signed under oath. Falsification of a sworn document is punishable under ORS 162.075 and is also a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum one year jail sentence. Finally, intentionally making false statements on an application for certification or on any other documents required by the Public Health Division is independent grounds for denial, suspension or revocation of a certification under ORS 682.255.
QUESTION: But won't I just receive a denial of certification in the mail?
ANSWER: No. The next step will consist of the EMT receiving either a questionnaire or a telephone call from Public Health Division investigative staff. The purpose of this inquiry is to determine whether the EMT is presently disqualified from certification.
QUESTION: Why doesn't the Public Health Division just ask me if I'm disqualified?
ANSWER: The determination of disqualification is to be made by the Public Health Division. The determination is a conclusion based on a review of all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the applicant or EMT. Moreover, many of the disqualifying conditions (such as alcoholism and substance abuse) are frequently subject to denial by the affected person.