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  Child Fingerprinting and Photo

Why this is so important    Missing Child Identifying Tools   Host A Fingerprinting Event  
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Sheriff Dale R. Gribler is pleased to announce that the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office has purchased equipment to fingerprint and photograph children.  This equipment was purchased from Sentry Technologies of Charlotte, NC and has proprietary printing and auto-capture features that allows for quick fingerprinting and photo capture.  The prints are captured electronically instead of using ink as in the past so there is no clean-up required.  From start to finish less than five minutes is required.  The $3,417 equipment was made available through a Public Safety Grant.


Why it is important to have your child fingerprinted and photographed.

 According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) 

  • 85% to 90% of the 876,213 persons reported missing to America’s law enforcement agencies in 2000 were juveniles (persons under 18 years of age).  That means that 2,100 times per day parents or primary care givers felt the disappearance was serious enough to call law enforcement.

  • 152,265 of the persons reported missing in 2000 was categorized as either endangered or involuntary.

  • The number of missing persons reported to law enforcement has increased from 154,341 in 1982 to 876,213 in 2000.  That is an increase of 468%.

When tragedy strikes involving children time is critical, this technology will help law enforcement in their investigation, said Sheriff Gribler.

These numbers are staggering and most families are not prepared to handle a missing child.  The better prepared you are to assist law enforcement the greater the chances of a successful recovery. 

Missing Child Identifying Tools

If you believe that a predator has taken your child have the following items on hand for the responding officer: 

  • Identifying information, an updated photograph, and a detailed description of what the child was wearing.

  • If you have a fingerprint card of DNA samples, please make them immediately available.

  • Detailed description of what the child may have taken with them or had with them when they disappeared.  This would include money, luggage, photographs and letters, maps or travel brochures.

  • Everything in terms of routes or destinations that you child would be familiar with including individuals they may visit and play locations.

  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of their friends, acquaintances and anybody else they would potentially have been in contact with.

  • Make your home computer available to law enforcement so they can check browser history, document history, messenger contacts, e-mail flow and any other clues that might be learned from your hard drive.

  • Go through the child’s belongings and give law enforcement any diaries, letters or other unusual documents that you might find.

  • Check clean-dirty clothing for anything unfamiliar or may otherwise give you a clue.

  • Check most recent phone bills for anything out of the ordinary or you are unaware of.

  • Look for anything that will give you a clue as to your child’s state of mind including input from friends and neighbors.  It might help you and law enforcement to determine if your child has been stolen, lured, or is a runaway.  Remember, you are trying to limit the possibilities.

  • You should also contact your child’s doctor and dentist about releasing medical and dental records.

  • Collect scent articles like dirty underwear, socks, and pajamas and store them in separate plastic bags as soon as possible for potential search dogs.  Do the same with hairbrushes and toothbrushes.  Make these articles available to law enforcement and encourage them to facilitate search and rescue efforts if that option is viable.

With scarce law enforcement resources, we are fortunate to have a great group of volunteers to work with local civic organizations who wish to host a safety program, Gribler added. 

Undeniable identity!This Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office service is available at no charge and can be scheduled for your community, school or civic event.  The program is being handled by the Sheriff’s Office Reserve unit.  Contact  Reserve Captain Rodney Bridgeforth at 269-655-6518 or email for more information or to schedule an event.



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