Sheriff’s office hopes ID kit will aid in missing children cases |

Sheriff’s office hopes ID kit will aid in missing children cases

William Ferchland
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Douglas County Sheriff's Department received $3,800 for a child identification kit so parents can provide authorities with information in event of an emergency.

Like film, cable and magazines, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department is slipping into the digital age, this time for child protection.

Last month the office received $3,800 to obtain a digital child identification kit that allows parents to possess a folder of vital information of their child including fingerprints, photo and physical descriptions.

“We’ll make up this child ID kit and send it home with the child,” said Sgt. Tom Mezzetta. “We maintain nothing and, God forbid, should something happen to a child the parent can supply that information to law enforcement.”

Members of the sheriff’s department and their volunteers will visit mostly elementary schools at the beginning of the year to get fingerprints and other information. Parents who wish to have a packet will sign a permission slip.

In the past six months 48 runaways and 78 missing children were reported to the sheriff’s department.

“We had one just the other day of a young girl who got on a wrong school bus and went home with a friend,” Mezzetta said.

Armed with the kit, parents can supply information to authorities if their child is missing.

The money was donated by the newly formed and nonprofit Douglas County Sheriff’s Advisory Council, composed of 11 community members. Carl Malkmus, the council’s chairman, said the digital kit is the first of several gifts to the department.

Money is gathered by solicitations.

“We just wrangle everybody we see and see if we can get some money from them,” Malkmus said.

The kit consists of a laptop computer, color printer, finger scanner, digital camera, software and hardware.

Other items the council plans to donate to the department are a thermal imagery camera and high-impact, bullet-proof vests.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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