JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As parents, you know the importance of having your child finger printed, but if you have the old ink prints, they're outdated. A child safety event this weekend is offering to update your records for free.
"This is so important for parents," said Central Florida firefighter Frank Martin. He's using an FBI-approved program called LifePrint at a child safety event today on the Southside. Martin says if your child goes missing, one of the greatest leads for investigators is trace evidence - any palm or finger print that provides evidence of your child's presence.
"The first thing we do is we put the child's name in," Martin said, walking us through the process. "Then we take a digital photograph and then we do all of their finger prints."
The biometric technology gives a clear and detailed image of the fingerprint at 99.6 percent accuracy, preventing smudges and errors commonly found in outdated ink formats. Martin also collects palm prints. Over 40 percent of prints left at a scene are palm prints.
All of the data is burned to a CD for parents, which is the only record kept.
"Because they're in digital format, God forbid your child went missing, they can immediately be entered into the database through the FBI," Martin said.
In addition to the photos and prints - there's also a child safety journal filled with questions, developed by police officers and child safety experts for you to sit down with your kids and fill out.
Parents like Dr. Ivis Alvarez, a pediatric dentist at Safari of Smiles - where the safety event was held today - say this provides an added sense of security.
"It's just one more thing that we can do to keep all of our ducks in a row, make sure that we've done everything we can to protect our children and to have an opportunity to help them if they need it," Alvarez said.
David Rivera, a parent at the event, said he was happy the service was offered for his 3-year-old son Gabriel.
"It's a good idea to have his fingerprints and be able to identify him, just in case anything happens you know, God forbid, but better safe than sorry," Rivera said.
The free event continues tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. at Safari of Smiles located at 7807 Baymeadows Road East, Jacksonville, FL. 32256.
First Coast News