For several years, the County Roscommon Sheriff’s Office has offered families the opportunity to make children’s identification kits.
Kits are available with the help of volunteers from Sheriff’s Auxiliary and Victim Services agencies. The kits contain cheek swabs and each individual fingerprint.
These DNA samples can help families prepare for the unimaginable event that a child goes missing.
“Hopefully none of these kits are needed to be used. But in the event that a child goes missing or a missing person report needs to be filed with that child, we have all of the child’s identifiable information” , says County Roscommon Deputy Sheriff Ben Lowe.
Half a million children go missing every year in the United States, but almost all of them are found. The children are found using all available information to track their whereabouts, but what could be most crucial is the use of DNA.
“If we have a list of information that talks about these child description tapes, if we have that to get out to law enforcement quickly, that’s a huge help,” Lowe says. “As children and people are recovered even years in the future, you have records of that child’s fingerprints and that child’s DNA and they can be cross-referenced.”
The program has been running for years, but for the past three years volunteers have not been able to enter the schools. They spent several weeks catching up, providing child identification kits to 600 children.
Monday’s event was specifically aimed at children who had moved to the area, were homeschooled, taking classes online or at a private school elsewhere.
Lowe says they wanted to make sure every child and their families had the opportunity to make a kit in case the unthinkable happened.
The information in the kits is not retained by any form of government or by the sheriff’s office.