News & Resources

Background check legislation for ice cream vendors to pass in Ohio

Jun 06, 2011 Matt Roesly

Background check legislation for ice cream vendors to pass in Ohio
In an effort to keep a closer eye on the people coming in contact with the children of Summit County, Ohio, officials are considering implementing mandatory background checks for ice cream truck drivers, according to WEWS-TV.
 "It's been brought to my attention, some of them could be selling drugs out of them or be sexual predators and is in close contact with your kids," Summit County council president Jerry Freeman told the news source. "To me, it just didn't sit well." The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the proposal states that ice cream vendors would need to submit to background checks by the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification prior to being allowed to sell ice cream to children. In addition, applicants would be denied a license if they have had a previous offense against a child, a sex offense, a drug or assault conviction within the past seven years, a weapons conviction within the past five years or a homicide offense. Freeman tells the news source that he never thought that people were actually selling drugs out of ice cream trucks, but there have been cases in which the vehicles were loaded with them. The legislation would only affect townships within the county that didn't have some sort of provision already in place. Transient vendors are already prohibited in some Summit county townships such as Stow and Copley. Local parents support the new rule. "I coach them for baseball," Jerry Fowler, father of two boys in Summit county, tells WKYC-TV. "I need a background check. It's the same for Boy Scout leaders. Why shouldn't it be for vendors?" In a neighboring city of Barberton, a measure that prevents vendors with criminal backgrounds from taking jobs that involve transactions with children has been in place for a while. Vincent Morber, a Barberton police chief, explained to the news source that he's aware of at least one driver who was denied due to a criminal past, in which he was accused of kidnapping and domestic violence. WEWS-TV adds that the proposal will not affect other solicitors, such as Boy Scouts or high school groups selling door-to-door for fundraising. Freeman explains to the media outlet that while he typically isn't a fan of legislating, implementing this rule simply makes sense. He expects it to be passed by Monday.