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Kindergartners printed for CIP

Published 11:00pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

Deputies from the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Russell Thomas were at the Hank Jones Early Childhood Learning Center Thursday morning to finger print all kindergarten students as a part of the department’s ongoing Child Identification Program.

Thomas said the 2013-2014 school year is the 14th year the Pike County Sheriff’s Department has participated in the program.

“Every year we fingerprint the kindergarten students at all schools in the county as well as children at daycare centers,” he said. “We also fingerprint children at Vacation Bible Schools around the county,” he said. “We send home with each child an identification kit that includes vital information about the child, including birth and dental records, a photo and a hair sample for DNA testing.

“We do this with the hope and prayer that these kits are never needed. But in this day and time, you can’t ever be too prepared. Almost every day, we hear of children and teenagers being abducted and of runaways. These ID kits will provide valuable information in the event anything happens to a child.”

Thomas said the 2014 graduates of schools in Pike County will be the first class that was involved in the initial Child Identification Program in Pike County.

“We fingerprinted these kids when they were in kindergarten, gave them a plastic sheriff’s badge and hoped and prayed we never had to open one of those kits,” he said. “We have been blessed.”

As of this year, more than 7,500 children have been fingerprinted by the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.

“We are proud to be able to offer this service and we really appreciate the support of the schools and the community,” Thomas said.

Deputies Buck Williams, Kelley Lucas, Matt Stephens and Sam Mallory fingerprinted the students at the Hank Jones Early Childhood Center Thursday.

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