An RCMP officer showing how to remove prints from a bottle at an RCMP open house in 2014.
An RCMP officer showing how to remove prints from a bottle at an RCMP open house in 2014.

By: Korie Marshall

A new local initiative from Crime Stoppers will let you fingerprint your kids for free – and hopefully it’s a souvenir you never have to use.

Bill Kruisselbrink, member of the local chapter of Crime Stoppers, says it is something that service clubs sometimes do – offering to fingerprint your child, and give you the prints to keep. Elsie Buck, president of the local Crime Stoppers chapter, brought the idea up at a recent meeting, and the Lions Club got on board with doing it as part of their annual Easter Egg Hunt this year.

Kruisselbrink says the RCMP has offered the cards and the ink, and will demonstrate how to do the fingerprints if it’s needed, but they will not be looking at or collecting the prints at all. Kids will only be fingerprinted with permission from their parents, and the parents get the prints to keep. It’s recommended you keep them in an envelope on the side of your fridge, or in a fireproof safe if you have one, and when your kids are grown, you can show them how small their fingers were.

“We hope that is all they ever need them for,” says Kruisselbrink. Valemount has always been a safe place, but you just never know who might be traveling by on the highway.

Crime Stoppers has traditionally offered cash rewards for tips that lead to arrests, but they’ve expanded their mandate to help prevent crime, not just rewarding tipsters, says Kruisselbrink. Offering cash rewards for tips helps convict the perpetrators when crimes have occurred, but just having that service available can be a deterrent. And it’s better to prevent crime than to have to prosecute it, says Kruisselbrink.

“People think you can’t keep it a secret, if you give an anonymous tip, because we’re a small community. But we’ve done it successfully.”

Kruisselbrink says the number you call to report a tip is a call centre in Ontario, so no one is going to recognize your voice, and they are trained to ask questions that will get your information, without identifying you. Then you get a “tipster number” and you can check back later to see if your tip resulted in an arrest. If it did, you get cash. The amount is decided after you provide your tip, based on a recommended list from the national chapter.

The biggest tip payment the local chapter has delivered was $500, for a tip that helped corroborate evidence in a murder case. But Kruisselbrink says most people aren’t even interested in the cash, they just want to see justice. He says the group has debated if it’s worth to continue, since the since the area is quite safe, and thankfully, we’ve not had any major crimes in a while. But they do get some tips every year, and finding ways to help prevent crime is important as well, so they keep at it.

To get your child’s fingerprints for free, join the local members of Crime Stoppers on Sunday April 5th, 1:00 pm, at the Lions Hall for the Easter egg hunt.