A Hampton City Employee's Shocking Criminal History

September 25, 2018
The City of Hampton hired a pump station mechanic who had a serious criminal history.
Backgrounds Online | September 25, 2018

The City of Hampton hired a pump station mechanic without background screening the applicant. They were later shocked to learn about his criminal history.


A man named Robert Dobbins was hired by the city of Hampton as an on-call water station pump mechanic. On his official paperwork, Dobbins indicated that he had never been convicted of a felony. That was deemed sufficient and no background check was run. The city offered him a job and a smartphone so he could be contacted in case of emergency.

While Dobbins was an active employee in good standing, the city was contacted by an officer from a federal law enforcement agency. A city representative was informed that the agency ran a sting to catch predators. During that time, the agency identified Dobbins as the owner of an online account which displayed pictures of young children. The news got even worse from there.

Hampton city official learned that Dobbins had “committed a hands-on offense against a child” and was involved in child pornography. While unknowingly involved in the sting operation, Dobbins sent a link that contained child pornography to one of the investigators.

Based on these charges, Dobbins was arrested. He later revealed that he had used his city-issued phone to access child pornography. City officials also discovered that Dobbins had previously been convicted for receipt and possession of child pornography. These charges would have been available on a background check report.

Why He Wasn’t Screened

The city of Hampton has specific background screening regulations in place. They screen any potential employee who might handle money, enter someone’s home, work with minors or be placed in a position that involves public safety. Since Dobbins was hired as a mechanic, city policy did not require him to go through a background screening.

At this time, the city does not plan to update their background screening process. Robin McCormick, the city’s Communications Strategist, believes this was an isolated incident and no policy revisions are necessary.

The Importance Of Screening Everyone

At Backgrounds Online we believe it is crucial to screen potential employees, volunteers, contractors and anyone else who could represent your brand. Running background checks shows you are taking precautions to confirm the people who work for your business or organization do not have a serious criminal history.

Your customers, staff and the public rely on you to run background checks to help ensure the people you hire or contract are safe and trustworthy. The residents of Hampton would not approve of a city employee who has convictions for child pornography. Your customers would not approve of you hiring an individual who has a violent or otherwise dangerous criminal history.

Ongoing Monitoring

Ongoing background screenings are just as essential as the initial background check. This shows you if someone who represents your business has a new criminal conviction. It’s like a continuous security policy for your business and reputation.

If you have questions about your screening policies, what types of background checks you should be running or ongoing monitoring, please contact us. Our educated team is available to assist you Monday – Friday from 5am to 6pm PT. We look forward to hearing from you.