Free child-identification program available to parents


Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:49 p.m.

A free, FBI-certified child-safety program will be available to parents in the Gainesville area on Saturday.

Facts

If you go:

The DNA LifePrint program, offering free biometric palm prints and biometric 10 digit fingerprints, will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tioga Dental Associates, 13005 SW 1st Road Suite 233.

The DNA LifePrint program lets parents record their child’s biometric palm prints and biometric 10-digit fingerprints for use by law enforcement in case he or she goes missing.

Palm prints are based on ridges, principal lines and wrinkles on the surface of the palm. Since the palm area is much larger, more distinctive features can be captured as compared with fingerprints.

Along with the biometrics, a free digital photograph of the child and a safety journal that can provide the child’s vital information to the police are recorded onto a CD for the parents that can be processed through the FBI’s Next Generation Identification database.

Matt Brush, who owns Tioga Dental Associates with his wife, Cynthia, said he wanted to host the program to help raise safety awareness around the community.

“It’s really about educating the parents,” he said. “It’s a good reminder to keep our kids safe.”

Brush said he does not know how many will attend the event, but he is hoping for about 500 people.

Joe Matthews, a retired detective sergeant of the Miami Beach Police Department, co-founded DNA LifePrint after he noticed a difficulty in identifying children who were brought into custody by social services.

With the endorsement of child-safety advocate and “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh, Matthews launched the program on May 6, 1990, by handing out DNA kits to every child in the Miami-Dade school district.

Matthews said in a 2011 television interview that he was aware of two instances where the kit was used to help find missing children.

“It’s just a safeguard for parents,” he said. “This DNA is the best aid for law enforcement today in tracking someone with trace evidence.”

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