Locally the ARES/RACES group once had on its membership list, a two time convicted sex offender, and a bugler. What problems could those two pose?
I understand the problem with the sex offender, the answer there involves poisonous snakes, a big sack and a deep river. For the bugler I guess you can have them blow taps or get signals across in a noisy environment for troop movements. <j/k>
With the volunteers I was shepherding there was an extensive background check and vetting process. This was way back in the 80's, well before the current Red Cross credit check deal. Since they also supported the police department on crime scene investigations we had to weed out the untrustworthy element. As these folks also operated city owned vehicles and had access to city property additional levels of checking was required for liability purposes.Cops generally do not like being around the folks they arrested the week before for domestic violence or a DUI.
Background checks consisted of an NCIC check, local wants and warrants and a drivers record check. I also gave the PD the authority to say "no" on any of the volunteers without giving me a reason. That was useful if they had a pending investigation or suspicions that this person may have trouble with the law.
I could give a rats-a$$ about their credit history. It had no bearing on the organization as they did not have access to money or purchase orders.
For the first six months all volunteers were radio operators in the dispatch center. A few of those folks advanced to a radio operators slot in the mobile command post. Some folks decided that they liked the dispatch position and while they received field training they spent 80% of their time in the building. Most folks went through additional training in that first year and became part of a crew on one of the specialty vehicles, EOC staff or weather spotters.
I was always on the watch for "blue light fever"
. Folks who self-deployed to the scene, failed to follow established procedure or would show up outside of the normal call-out process were weeded out. The result was an volunteer organization that fluctuated between 20 and 30 folks who could supplement local police/fire/public works operations and who had a great recovery/rescue dive team. I had physicists who would supplement the FD HazMat team, and nurses who were also EMT's who would work at triage centers. Even now, being away from it for 15 years the organization is still going strong under the same structure.
At one time I had a whacker who I gave the boot to as he had "the blue light fever". He turned around and joined a FD where a few years later they caught him committing an arson, it was a big black eye for that FD.
It only takes one renegade whacker to ruin the reputation of a great bunch of folks. I had volunteers who have since moved on to professional careers with the PD, FD and EMS. One is now a shift commander at the local police department. Another is a deputy fire chief and more than a few are paramedics.