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State Of Iowa Certifies Northwest Iowa EMT Despite 23 Criminal Convictions

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A northwest Iowa emergency medical technician has been convicted 23 times of state and federal crimes, but the Iowa Department of Public Health says he's little risk to the public.

The Des Moines Register reported Monday that the department's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services has certified Patrick Birgess as an emergency medical technician despite his extensive arrest record.

Between 1988 and 2004, Birgess was convicted of crimes including drug possession, forgery, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, identity theft and unlawful entry of a motor vehicle.

Public Health Department spokesman Ken Sharp says the agency believes "Birgess can practice with minimal risk to the public." He notes Birgess has no criminal convictions in nine years.

A telephone number for Birgess couldn't be located.