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What exactly are these people doing to investigate the criminal records of these people?
There's nothing illegal about checking public records of other people or doing background checks on anyone you'd like to. In fact, it's now pretty simple with the internet. You can get a criminal background check within a matter of minutes. So, as long as the person isn't illegally accessing confidential databases (like NCIC or some other government information site reserved for law enforcement), it's likely completely legal.
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Well, he has the right to object as a parent, but the mother doesn't have to go along with it......IF the father wants to push the issue and keep the child away from this person, he can ask the court to enter a restraining order or to prohibit contact. But, short of him taking that action, there's really no authority in his objections.