The Prince George's County Police Department is, for the first time, offering parents in the county the opportunity to have their children fingerprinted as an aid to authorities in case the children disappear.
The fingerprints are not kept by police, but are given to the parents. If a child disappears, parents are instructed to give the fingerprints to police, who can then attempt to match them with computerized prints of children who have been found by police in other locations. There is no charge for the service.
Lt. John M. Lloyd of the police administrative services office said that fingerprints will be taken tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the police academy, located at 3415 N. Forestedge Rd., Forestville. Children must be accompanied by parents or guardians who are residents of the county. The program will operate each Saturday in June at the same time and location.
Lloyd said there has been demand from schools and parents to begin the fingerprinting. Prints can be matched in an national computerized information bank on missing children maintained by the FBI.
"There's been so much hysteria in the news about children being kidnaped," Lloyd said. "This is a little more insurance" for the parents.
Similar fingerprinting programs have already begun in the metropolitan area. Montgomery County police offered the service last April and plans to do it again some time in the future.
Police in Alexandria have begun the project in the elementary schools and Fairfax County will get their program started in the fall. Police in the District said they are considering the possibility of a fingerprinting program.