PCSO reaches out to kids

Published 7:48 pm Friday, May 12, 2023

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The Pike County Sheriff’s Office has fingerprinted more than 10,000 children during a long-standing community outreach program.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said for the past 24 years, deputies had helped parents safeguard their children with a child identification kit.

“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 and 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.”

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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.”

Thomas said each year, the PCSO visits with and fingerprints children at Banks School, Goshen Elementary, Troy Elementary, Pike County Elementary, Pike Liberal Arts and Covenant Christian.

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 peace 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.”