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PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Public Safety's fingerprinting squad faces a backlog of 12,000 applicants.

The Arizona Republic reported that the backlog has caused problems for school districts whose teachers need to be fingerprinted to make sure teachers don't have criminal backgrounds.

DPS also runs fingerprint checks for other workers, such as child-care providers.

Capt. Raymond Butler, manager of DPS' fingerprint squad, said the agency has dealt with a backlog for several years, but hiring freezes left them with little option but to authorize overtime until late last year.

With an upturn in the economy and more jobs needing fingerprint clearance, the agency has adjusted to an increased demand.

Officials staff the squad 24 hours a day, and have hired four temporary technicians and are hiring 10 additional technicians soon.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

Associated Press,

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