Comal County Sheriff's Office and Citizen's Academy sponsor finger-printing clinics

By Crystal Gottfried, Staff Writer

Parents who want an identification card for their children can take advantage of finger printing clinics being sponsored by the Comal County Citizen's Sheriff Academy in conjunction with the Comal County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Section.

Headed by Corporal Tim Kolbe, the Crime Prevention Section will hold a finger printing clinic for children at the Holy Family Church in New Braunfels on Saturday along with CCCSA alumni.

Using an inkless, computer-based printing system, the clinics are able to process approximately 45 children.

And for children who are too young to have ridge patterns on their fingers, a standard print packet to use at home is issued to parents.

During the clinics, academy alumni volunteers perform like a well-oil machine, as each person had a specific duty, making the entire process quick, painless and fun for the kids.

The computerized photographing and fingerprinting system is very easy to use, and there is no mess associated with the inked packages of old.

The system uses an infrared scanner to read the ridge and valley patterns which make up fingerprints so if a print does not come out with the quality expected, the laptop operator simply replaces it with a new scan.

No two prints in the world are said to be the same.

The system also takes a picture of the child. All of this information, and prints, are put onto a formatted identification card for parents to keep in their files.

Parents also go home with two identical laminated wallet cards.

The service is performed free of charge, but many choose to donate to help defray the costs of the formatted card stock.

The next fingerprinting clinic will be at the Wal-Mart in New Braunfels, on Friday, October 28 from 11-2.

Fingerprinting clinics have been held about ten times at area schools, retail locations and as a public service at community fairs and family-style events since the Sheriff's Office received the equipment in late 2004.

The New Braunfels Home Depot staff members were so impressed when the store sponsored a children's fingerprinting clinic on October 1 that Cpl. Kolbe and Home Depot are making plans to set up a related crime prevention display in the security hardware section of the store. The goal is to assist people in complying with the state insurance code which would help homeowners earn a discounted rate on their homeowner insurance policy.

Contact Corporal Tim Kolbe, Crime Prevention/Community Service for the Comal County Sheriff's Office at 830-608-8260 or by e-mail at soatpk@co.comal.tx.us if your group or organization would like to sponsor a children's fingerprinting clinic at your next event.

Cpl. Tim Kolbe with the Comal County Sheriff's Office contributed to this story.

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