Police to provide child ID kits

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Packet includes everything a parent needs if their child goes missing

By Carol A. Clark

The Los Alamos Police Department July 4 will provide a special kit to parents loaded with tools to help locate their child if he or she ever goes missing.

Cpl. Monica Salazar-Casias is heading up the day-long project called Identikit.

“We’ll be at Overlook Park from 4 p.m. until dark Sunday,” she said. “We’ll take photos of elementary-age children, take inkless fingerprints and toothbrush swabs to have their DNA and we’ll place everything in an envelope and give it to the parents for safekeeping. We also give the parents a card to fill out and place in the envelope with important information about their child.”

The kit will be given to parents Sunday at no charge and includes:

• A head-and-shoulders photo in which the child’s face is clearly visible;

• A narrative description useful to identify the child such as name, nickname, height, weight, sex, age, eye color, dentition, eyeglasses, hair color and style, scars, identifying marks, disabilities, tattoos, body piercing and braces;

• Parents should keep a home video, which captures a child’s mannerisms, with the Child ID Kit.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children recommends parents and guardians keep such child identification information handy to help law enforcement officials find lost children as quickly as possible.

One of the most important tools is an up-to-date, good-quality photograph with descriptive information.

Sgt. Frederico Rascon said Alpine Laser Dental, Joseph Mathews, Posada Dental Works and Los Alamos Orthodontics provided toothbrushes for the project.

DNA is also a key element families should have on hand for their children’s identification, Rascon said.

“Like fingerprints and dentition, DNA will not help find a missing child but is used to identify someone,” he said.

No one should store DNA except parents and guardians, he added.

Dental X-rays, professional dental charting and bite impressions also are useful in making identifications.

Parents and guardians should update dental charts every two years, he said, until children are 18.

Families should know where their children’s medical records are located. X-rays, permanent scars, blemishes, birthmarks or broken bones can be helpful in identifying a recovered child, Rascon said.

“This kit is a really great crime prevention tool that helps law enforcement to react quickly should a child go missing,” he said. “At a traumatic time – this is a calm way for parents to provide complete information on a child to police in one envelope.”

Salazar-Casias added that the Identikit event also is a good way for families to meet some of their local police officers.

For more information, contact Salazar-Casias at 662-8222.