On April 6, 2009, the Long Beach Police Department’s Community Resource Unit, in partnership with the Office of the Nassau County District Attorney debuted Operation Safe Child. Operation Safe Child is a program that utilizes equipment that contains the latest digital fingerprinting technology and high resolution photography to produce a SAFE CHILD Identification card for parents and guardians. Police Officer Judy Parisi was on hand at the Lindell Elementary School on April 6th to produce and distribute the SAFE CHILD identification cards to students from kindergarten to second grade. Police Officer Judy Parisi is part of the newly formed Community Resource Unit, which was created to replace the discontinued D.A.R.E. program.
Operation SAFE CHILD was created to raise awareness about child safety. It is a campaign aimed at providing teachers, parents and guardians with the tools to keeping children safe in today's world. A key part of the program is knowing your child's personal information by obtaining a SAFE CHILD identification card.
Statistics show that 34 percent of parents in the United States do not know their child's exact height, weight and eye color. 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 an important proactive measure, which can greatly assist local law enforcement officials to quickly respond to a child's disappearance. The SAFE CHILD cards contain a child's name, biographical information (date of birth, gender, height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc.), and a fingerprint image of both index fingers. The card is easily carried in a wallet or pocketbook. Interested parents can choose to store the fingerprints, basic biographical information and photographs of children, information critical to expediting the return of a missing child. The storage of information is entirely voluntary. 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 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 and the data collected 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. Police Commissioner Thomas R. Sofield, Sr. stated, “It has always been the Long Beach Police Department’s goal to act proactively in providing the best public safety and police services to our community, especially in matters that concern our children and grandchildren. The Safe Child program educates parents and students in matters concerning child safety. Not only do I endorse this program, but as a member of the Long Beach community and as a grandparent, I am pleased that my grandchildren availed themselves to this service.”
Pictured above students from the Lindell School with (from back row left to right) Councilman John McLoughlin, Long Beach Police Officer Judy Parisi and from the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Maria Ploth.