Fingerprinting kids provides peace of mind for Iwakuni parents
Youths that Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni’s Provost Marshal’s Office fingerprinted Thursday weren’t headed for the slammer.
Rather, the fingerprinting took place for their own good and their parents’ peace of mind, according to Sgt. Elizabeth Lopez, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Police Community Resource Section.
Lopez’s PMO section is distributing child identification and safety kits throughout October, which is National Crime Prevention Month. Another event like Thursday’s, which distributed kits to parents and fingerprinted about 40 kids, is planned at the Marine Corps Exchange from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The child identification and safety kits prepare parents to provide essential information to law enforcement and medical personnel in case of emergencies, Lopez said.
“The families keep the completed kits and insert a photo — we recommend an updated photo be added each year,” Lopez said. “And we make fingerprints of the children when kits are distributed and place those in the kits, too.”
At this point, the PMO does not keep a database of information from the kits. However, Lopez said, they are currently studying systems to do that.
“We are aware of database systems that allow the entry of digital photos and videos, as well as digital fingerprints. We’re looking at possibly placing such a system on our wish list,” she said.
If the need arises, some digital systems allow integration into far-reaching databases such as Amber Alert.
“That capability could prove helpful when they leave Iwakuni and return to the U.S.,” Lopez said.
She said some parents don’t want fingerprints and other private information entered into a database, “and as a parent, I think I can understand that,” Lopez said. “So our purpose is just to be here to help with the kits for parents who see the value of keeping this information readily available.”
Parents interested in obtaining child identification and safety kits can call Lopez at DSN 253-4929.