Fingerprinting of Children Planned at Simi Library

Assemblywoman Cathie Wright, in conjunction with the Simi Valley Police Department, will help parents fingerprint their children today at the Simi Valley Library, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road.

The program, to be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is designed to give parents a record of their children's fingerprints in case they are ever abducted, said John Theiss, a spokesman for Wright (R-Simi Valley). Police do not keep copies of the prints, a police spokeswoman said.

"Should the unthinkable happen, we can go forward as quickly as possible to identify these children," he said.

Seventy-nine children were reported abducted in Ventura County between January and June, said Joe Kershaw, superintendent in the child abduction unit of the Ventura County district attorney's office.

Of those, 39 have been found, he said. Last year, 111 abductions were reported in the county.

Kershaw said fingerprinted children who were abducted as infants are much easier to identify if they are found years later.

"There's a number of variables that come into play when a child is abducted, and this program is just one of them," Theiss said.

Randy White, a crime prevention specialist in the Simi Valley Police Department, said that besides fingerprinting children, police will answer questions on preventing abductions.

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