Archive for April, 2012
Children crawled atop the Palm Bay Fire Department’s pumper unit wearing their junior fire helmets (red ones for the boys and pink ones for the girls), and gathered more coloring books from the Palm Bay Police than their little arms could carry. The bounce house shook ceaselessly in the preowned car lot, as giggling toddlers ignored the threatening clouds that hung overhead. Inside the showroom, crisply dressed, sales people darted about, shepherding kids toward the back of the sales floor – where something deadly serious was taking place.
A group from Davie, Florida had come to help parents assemble identification data for use in case the “unthinkable” should happen to their child.
Brevard’s largest Ford dealership took time out from selling Mustangs and Fusions on Saturday, April 14th, to help local families protect their kids. Nearly two-hundred children were protected at the DNA Lifeprint Child Safety Event, when their parents were provided with identification kits to help police, in the event a child goes missing.
A five year-old cocked one eye from under the brim of his fire hat, “Will it hurt?”
Andrea Matthews smiled and patted the seat of the chair beside her. Plucking the hat from the boy’s head, she held a web cam aloft and snapped his picture. Then she rolled his little fingers carefully across the plate of a digital fingerprint scanner.
“We don’t retain any of the data.” said Matthews, “It all goes home with the parent.”
She ejected a CD from the external drive. After slipping it into the kit, she handed it to the boy’s mother: ”…The saliva swab is inside, just follow the directions.”
The mother took the boy’s hand and lead him away while he replaced his helmet sideways. She clutched the DNALifeprint kit to her chest.
About the size of an old VHS tape box, the kits contain the child’s ”Biometric” fingerprint, which can be loaded directly into the FBI database and made available instantly, to all law enforcement agencies. Along with the DNA sample, there is a High-Definition photo of the child and a journal recording the child’s physical characteristics.
Child advocate John Walsh endorses the DNA Lifeprint program which was developed by a retired Miami detective. The $6.95 cost for each kit was paid by Palm Bay Ford.
Each parent was also given a copy of the Guardian Brevard. Members of the local child safety group, Protect Our Children, distributed copies of their publication which features pictures and descriptions of local child-molesters.
Sheriff Candidate, Wayne Ivey dropped by to discuss the Amber Alert System which he helped to enhance during his tenure with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
To find out more, visit the DNA Lifeprint website: http://www.dna-lifeprint.com/