And taking DNA samples “just in case?” No thanks.
It seemed morbid and extreme, as if planning for the unthinkable. Then I had a talk with Nassau County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Sutton.
A big proponent of the free safety identification program the sheriff’s office offers, Sutton, a dad, himself, has DNA samples stowed away at home for everyone in his household — including himself.
“We don’t get to choose who becomes a victim,” he said. “This program makes me feel good, as a parent, at least knowing that I have something to help law enforcement move if something ever happens.”
“What exactly does he mean by something,” I wondered to myself.
It turns out a DNA kit comes in handy for much more than identifying someone in a body bag. It’s one of the quickest ways to identify someone who’s lost, run away or abducted, Sutton told me. Sometimes victims of abductions are so afraid of their captors, they won’t reveal their real identity to police. And people with amnesia or dementia are often found with no identification on them at all. Plus, precious time can be wasted when law enforcement thinks they have found the missing person, only to later determine they were wrong.
Sutton said the old route of using fingerprints is one handy tool in identifying someone. When you get your child fingerprinted, the prints are stored in a law enforcement database that can be accessed all over the country in the event of an emergency. But Sutton said identification through DNA can be a much quicker process.
If the “Big Brother is Watching” line is running through your head, listen to this: the sheriff’s DNA kits go home with you. You do a quick swab on the inner cheek, place the swab in a labeled container and pop it in the freezer. No police database required.
The hope is that you never have to use any of it, which may make the whole process seem a little weird, but then isn’t that what we do every day with insurance? And our insurance — which costs tons — primarily protects material things. These kits are FREE, and they are there to help us protect what we treasure most in the world.
If you want to get a Safety ID Kit for your children:
The DNA Kits are available FREE at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office at 76001 Bobby Moore Circle, Yulee, FL. You may want to call them at 904-225-0331 to make sure they have some on hand before you drop in.
Photo IDs and fingerprinting are available only at special events, and we’re going to include them in our weekly events announcements whenever we hear they’re being offered.