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Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard is announcing that Operation Safe Child – the free Child ID fingerprinting program- will take place at the Sheriffs’ building on 42nd Street (behind the Agricultural Center) on the fairgrounds of the Erie County Fair- each day (August 8th- 19th) during the hours of 2-8:00 p.m.   

Since 2006, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office has fingerprinted approximately 30,000 children throughout various locations in the county.   The fair traditionally is a big draw for parents who either want to get a new card for their child or to have their child’s existing card updated with new biographical  information.       

Statistics show that 34 percent of parents in the United States do not know their child's exact height, weight and eye color. And, when a child is reported missing, time can be the greatest adversary. Possessing up-to-date photographs and detailed information about a child can prove to be important proactive measures that can greatly assist local law enforcement officials to quickly respond to a child's disappearance.

Using equipment that contains the latest digital fingerprinting technology and high resolution photography capabilities, the Erie County Sheriff's Office is able to produce a SAFE CHILD card for parents and guardians.


The cards contain a child's name (date of birth, gender, height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc.), and a fingerprint image of both index fingers. The card can be made in less than two minutes and can be easily carried in a wallet or pocketbook. Interested parents can choose to store the fingerprints, basic biographical information and photographs of children who are not missing -- information critical to expediting the return of a missing child. The storage of information is entirely voluntary and requires the written consent of a parent or legal guardian. The information gathered is digitally recorded and stored in a database at the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) in Albany. In the event DCJS receives a missing child report, the fingerprints of that child will be included in a special search file and compared against all incoming fingerprints submitted to the agency.

In addition to being able to quickly provide important details to police agencies investigating child disappearances, the New York State Sheriff Association SAFE CHILD Card will serve as an important tool when used in conjunction with the New York State AMBER Alert and Missing Child Alert programs. These cards will allow essential missing child information to be electronically disseminated, statewide if necessary, within minutes and dramatically increase the possibility of bringing a missing child home unharmed.