New Fingerprinting Service Offered for Parents

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. His or her child is missing.

Lee County law enforcement officials are touting a new initiative aimed at giving officials a head start in the case of a missing child. Sheriff’s Office deputies are partway through an effort over the next few weeks to fingerprint and catalog information about hundreds of local children.

Sheriff’s Office Lt. David Prevatte said newly purchased computer software allows authorities to quickly photograph and fingerprint children for storage on a compact disc.

The disc will be given to parents, and could serve as an invaluable tool for officials if a parent’s nightmare comes true.

“If a child was to go missing and had been fingerprinted, it will allow us to have that information along with a photo,” Prevatte said. “...At least we would have a starting point.”

Deputies are wrapping up efforts this week to log roughly 150 children at Christian Provision Ministries at 2300 Courtland Drive, with plans to enter another 200 kids in the coming weeks at a separate Christian Provision Ministries at 1100 Garden Street, Prevatte said.

The Sheriff’s Office is available to offer the free service to various clubs, organizations and civic groups in the county, he said.

The idea to start up the program stemmed from local parents who wanted to find ways to make the transfer of information to law enforcement on missing children as efficient as possible.

Officials say speed is a necessity in many missing person cases, where the likelihood of finding a person declines over time.

Prevatte said law enforcement will not retain the children’s information. It will be up to parents to offer up the CD if their child ever goes missing.

The 5-minute service could be utilized for school students in the future, he said.

Prevatte, who is heading up the program, can be reached at the Sheriff’s Office at 919-718-4563, extension 5627 or by email at

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