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Thursday, June 11, 2009

S.F. Children's Safety Program Seemingly Offers Parents 'Star Trek'-Level Technology

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Dammit Jim, I wanted the 'easy-to-use home DNA identification kit,' not the hard one!
  • Dammit Jim, I wanted the 'easy-to-use home DNA identification kit,' not the hard one!
We remember the day we went to a kiddie festival at Lake Merritt and got fingerprinted -- always a pleasant thing for a toddler to hear: "It's just in case you get kidnapped, son." Anyhow, lots of ink was involved in the fingerprinting. Thank God the interior of the car was black. The dog was white, though.

Glancing at the 21st century equivalent touted in a San Francisco Police Department release, it seems the dogs of today can breathe easy. Children are fingerprinted "biometrically" these days -- it's all done like a digital scan. No ink. No adorable photos of dirty children and animals.

The cops are inviting San Franciscans with young children -- all 26 of you -- to come on down and get 'em on file this weekend. Running from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 at San Francisco Ford Lincoln Mercury (which is paying for all this), kids will be tagged and bagged by the Florida-based company LifePrint. In addition to the aforementioned fingerprinting, kiddies will have a digital photo snapped of them and -- here's the part that threw us for a loop -- parents will be given an "easy-to-use home DNA identification kit." Way to make us feel old! You mean parents are able to identify DNA at home these days? ("That wasn't Billy's hair in the ice cream, Martha! It was Uncle Isaac!"). We called the cops and they weren't sure what the hell an "easy-to-use home DNA identification kit" was, either. So we called Florida.

Sherri Rauch, the program coordinator for LifePrint, confirmed that, no, there's no high-tech alchemy going on in parents' homes allowing them to determine whose DNA is whose faster than those quirky folks in the lab coats on cop shows.

Actually, what the DNA kit entails is a cotton swab and a vial; after swabbing your kids' teeth and gums you toss the resultant DNA delight in the vial and it keeps for 40 to 60 years. There's no computers or holograms or anything involved. 

The SFPD, however, ensures the kiddies that the "Talking Police Car" will be present. Somehow we think it definitely doesn't have anything to do with this.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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