Children line up at the fingerprinting station at Preston GM

Children line up at the fingerprinting station at Preston GM

Operation Kidsafe sets up at Preston GM in Langley

The first fingerprinting station of its type in B.C. gives parents a chance to keep fingerprints that can be used in an emergency.

The first Operation Kidsafe fingerprinting station in B.C. officially opened on Wednesday, at Preston GM in Langley City, with about 100 enthusiastic parents, children and community members in attendance.

The free service gives parents a printed copy of their child’s fingerprints and photograph as a safety precaution, to help track kids if they go missing. It will be available for families at the GM location for a year.

“It’s totally free and it’s totally private,” said Peter Heppner, general manager of Preston.

Any information that is created is given back to the parents. They can drop in any time the dealership is open to take advantage of the service.

The printout can be given to law enforcement anywhere in the world to aid in an investigation.

“I’m really excited to have this available, I think it’s a wonderful service to our staff, our customers and to the community. We’re just very excited to have it available,” Heppner said.

Over one million children worldwide have been digitally fingerprinted and photographed through Operation Kidsafe, said Mark Bott, CEO of the organization.

Bott is an internationally-known child safety advocate with seven children of his own. He’s worked for 15 years on projects like the Amber Alert, Meagan’s Law and has hosted more than 100 child safety town meetings.

“Anywhere there’s one of these stations, it gets parents networking,” he said, glancing around the room. “If you look at these parents right now and the kids, they’re talking safety, how much better could that be?”

More than 2,000 children are reported missing every day in North America.

The Langley Operation Kidsafe location is the eighth in Canada.