Organizers encourage parents to take advantage of free digital fingerprinting, photographs
By AMBER SOUTH
A national child safety program will be in Shippensburg this week taking free digital fingerprints and photographs of children that their parents can use in a missing child investigation.
Shively Motors of Shippensburg will open its showroom to Keeping Kids Safe Project from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
About 150 kids are expected to come through the dealership over the two days, said Nick Garcia, local organizer and general sales manager at Shively.
According to Farah Roberts, of KKSP’s parent organization S.I.P. Kids, it takes about one minute for one child to get their fingerprints and photograph taken. These will then be handed off to the parent as part of a file that also includes a personal information sheet to fill out.
S.I.P. Kids does not retain copies of fingerprints, photographs or personal information documents, Roberts said.
Having the readied file will save valuable time in a missing child investigation, as parents would be able to hand off the information without spending time gathering the materials.
“In the event of an emergency it’s like gold having that (file),” Garcia said.
Roberts suggested parents take advantage of the free digital fingerprints and photograph S.I.P. offers rather than using an at-home kit because it is a quality the FBI can use.
“A lot of the ink fingerprinting that they’ve done in the past, 80 percent of fingerprints taken with ink aren’t even usable,” Roberts said. “That’s one reason we suggest parents come to the event.”
KKSP includes community organizations at its events to provide parents with more information on other facets of child safety and to bring down the fear factor that may come up given the missing-child topic.
“We never want to exploit the fears of parents for any reason,” Roberts said. “With the fears they do have, it’s always nice to take a proactive approach to keeping their children safe.”
Shippensburg Fire Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Child and Family Learning Center and Franklin County Parks and Recreation will provide health and safety information and entertainment.
Activities available will include face painting by Mrs. Claus and a build-a-bear station, Garcia said.
This is the third year KKSP will host the event at Shively Motors. Garcia cited Shively’s family orientation and values, and the fact that most employees are parents, as reasons why the dealership has continued hosting the program.
“It’s our way of giving back over the holidays,” he added.
Amber South can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 262-4771.