ROCHESTER — Starting this week, a renewed partnership among multiple community organizations will once again provide families with an essential resource to better protect their children.
Through the Rochester Rotary’s fingerprinting project, Rochester first grade students at each of the city’s elementary schools will have the opportunity to provide their fingerprints for identity kits, which parents can use in the event of an emergency.
Students at the William Allen School were the first to have their kits made during an event on Tuesday, March 19. Rochester Rotary, the schools and the police department have partnered on this project for approximately a decade.
The partnership, which includes Rotary and the schools working collaboratively with the Rochester Police Department, keeps kids safe while also protecting their privacy. Once filled out with complete sets of fingerprints, the ChildPrint ID Kits will be sent home, where parents can complete them and have them on hand if needed.
The kits are designed to help families provide as complete a profile of their children as possible in the event they go missing. Its core function is to streamline the reporting and investigative process to ensure law enforcement can act quickly and decisively to return a child home safely should that scenario ever arise.
In addition to students’ fingerprints, the kits enable parents to record a variety of critical details about their children, including a photo, identifying marks, whether or not they wear glasses or have any kind of chronic conditions, among other identifying factors. The kits also come with a plastic bag where a sample of the child’s DNA can be kept.
“Hopefully these kits will stay in a safe somewhere and never have to be used,” said Susan Ford of Rochester Rotary. “However, should the scenario ever arise where they are needed, these kits will help save essential minutes and be a critical resource.”
The Rochester Police Department and schools do not collect or maintain students’ fingerprint information, they simply facilitate the fingerprint collection process and retain parent-signed permission slips. The program comes at no cost to students or families, and will continue through the spring as police officers visit the remaining elementary schools to help fill out the ChildPrint kits.
The kits also have valuable educational information enclosed, which parents can share with their children in order to ensure they’re aware of the strategies they can use to stay safe.
“We’re glad to support this proactive program in order to help keep our kids safe,” Police Chief Paul Toussaint said. “My sincere hope is that these kits are never needed, but having them will enable our officers to do everything they can to reunite families should a child ever be separated from their loved ones.”