Safety Precautions

Deloras stood in the police station, frozen.

“Ma’am?” the officer said. “Did you want to have your son’s fingerprints added to the database?”

“Umm,” Deloras said, coming out of her mind and back to the question at hand. “I’m not sure.”

“It’s an emergency database, only to be used in the rare circumstances where your child goes missing or could be kidnapped. It’s a good service, something of preventative policing.”

“I don’t know…” Deloras folded her arms, then looked over to the desk where her son sat playing with a plastic policemen’s badge, watched over by the force’s public relations intern. “I mean, I get the good of it, but I’m leery about all the information being collected, and its use.”

“Well, as I say, madam, we’d only use it to try to track your child in the case of an emergency. No other reason.”

“Yeah, but with the amount you’ve been in the news lately…”

“Those were actually isolated incidents outside of the city, and the officers involved are now under investigation.”

“Right, but it kind of speaks to the potential culture I’m allowing my kid’s info into. I mean, the ease with which you could then use his, or anyone else’s, fingerprints in some other investigation, or some trumped up charge? I really don’t think I should.”

“Of course, but if he were to disappear in the middle of the night, and we had no way of checking the various fingerprints, or identifying that he was your son? And these prints are part of a national database, so he could be found anywhere.”

“See, you keep coming back to that fear thing. You’re like a politician.”

“It’s just the main purpose of the registry, ma’am, and it’s worked well in a number of former kidnapping cases.”

Deloras frowned. “Yeah, but where were the fingerprints pulled from in the Syliboy case? Where you had a whole gang invade a reserve after one of your officers planted a child’s fingerprints.”

“A fair point. I’m just trying to help you out, ma’am.”

“It’d be more believable, I think,” Deloras said, sighing, “if there seemed to be any motion in that case, or it hadn’t taken so long to get things going in the first place, or if you weren’t trying so hard. No, I don’t think so.”

“Okay, but just to warn you, your information is out there, ma’am.”

Deloras frowned at the implied threat, and grabbed her child’s arm. “C’mon, Otis,” she said, looking at the officer.

When they had left the station, Deloras reached into her pocket and saved the recording, knowing she might need it later. Then she hurried to her car, glancing back at the station, the officer watching her from the window.

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