Kwame Raoul announces partnership with National Child ID Program

Illinois Attorney General (Photo courtesy www.ilga.gov)

By Dave Dahl

Before child fingerprint / DNA identification kits became widely available, the critical early hours were lost.

“In 1997, when Amber Hagerman was taken,” said Kenny Hansmire, executive director of the National Child Identification Program, “her mother struggled to find DNA and fingerprint information, so law enforcement had to go in and fingerprint toys and pull hair from hairbrushes to try to find that information.”

Amber Hagerman’s disappearance and death inspired the program which became the “Amber Alert.”

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul Thursday announced a partnership between his office and Hansmire’s program. College and pro football coaches support the program, which is why Chicago Bears legend Mike Singletary was there to say that even in these troubled times, this is a way to show parents care about their kids.

With the longtime mistrust people of color have of the police, Hazel Crest police chief Mitchell Davis said parents have been rejecting such ID kits, and he is having to assure them the parents – not the police – are the ones who do the work and keep the kits.

Raoul said his office will distribute the kits to the families of 175,000 Illinois kindergartners after the New Year. This is a pilot program which could expand.

Dave Dahl can be reached at Talk@WJBC.com

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