STATE REP. BEN FREDERICK (middle) is joined Tuesday, Feb. 28, by Sgt. Doug Chapman of the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office to speak in support of legislation before the House Judiciary Committee. (Courtesy Photo)

State Rep. Ben Frederick, of Owosso, Tuesday, Feb. 28, was joined by Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Chapman and Sen. Rick Jones to speak before the House Judiciary Committee in support of legislation offering another layer of protection for children with special needs.

The bills, introduced by Frederick and Jones, give the parent or guardian of a special-needs child or individual the option to place a child’s photograph and fingerprints on file with the Michigan State Police and the national Automated Fingerprint Identification Database.

Frederick, who has two special-needs children, said every parent worries what would happen if their child were to go missing. “My daughter, who is autistic, is non-verbal. She wouldn’t be able to communicate with law enforcement if something were to happen,” Frederick said. “With this change, a police officer could simply scan her fingerprint and pull up all of the important information they would need to help her.”

Frederick said the program is strictly voluntary, and photographs and fingerprints could be removed from the system at the request of the parent. In addition, he noted that the fee associated with adding the child to either database would be covered by the parent or guardian. “This would not be a crutch, but just one tool families like mine will be able to rely on,” Frederick said.

Chapman said the reforms will help officers quickly identify special-needs children and reunite them with their families. “I think this is an outstanding idea and hopefully this bill will be passed,” Chapman said.

Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Deputy Speaks in Support of Frederick’s Bill was last modified: March 6th, 2017 by Karen Elford