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Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits

Huck Treadwell | The Messenger
Pike County Sheriff’s Office deputies David Thomas (left) and Logan Johnson, help Chance Jackson (left) and Collen Allen put their fingerprints on an identification kit. Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said the kits are sent home to parents to complete with all necessary information about the child. He said parents can give the identification kit to law enforcement officers if their child goes missing or is abducted.

The Pike County Sheriff’s Office resumed a long-standing community outreach program this week

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said for the past 21 years deputies had helped parents safeguard their children with a child identification kit. Thomas said last year COVID pre-vented the PCSO from holding the annual program, but Thomas said he was excited to get back on track this spring.

“This is a child identification program to assist parents,” Thomas said. “We fingerprint the children and then send the kit home to the parents to complete. If, for example, the parents are on vacation an their child gets lost or abducted, the kit has all of the information in one place that a law enforcement agency would need to begin an investigation.”

Thomas said the kit includes a place for the child’s photograph, medical information, all personal information — including contact information for parents and relatives — as well as hair samples for DNA, dental information and the child’s fingerprints.

“We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years,” Thomas said. “In that time, we’ve assisted with more than 10,000 child identification kits. This is also a good way for us to reach out to the community and build good relationships. We go into classrooms now, and there are teachers that remember when we took their fingerprints for their kit.”

Thomas said children also enjoy getting to meet the deputies and taking a look at law enforcement equipment.

“The kids get to meet law enforcement officers and ask a lot of questions,” Thomas said. “They also want to see the cars and always ask us to turn on the sirens. They get a positive experience with law enforcement officers and hopefully, that helps us build good relationships for the future.”

Thomas said the real value in the fingerprint kit program is that it gives parents a piece of mind, knowing that they have all of their child’s information in one place.

“We live in a time when bad things can happen,” Thomas said. “This kit has all of the in-formation a law enforcement agency would need in the case of a missing or abducted child. If anyone is interested in a kit, they can call the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at 334-566-4347.”