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States Pay Millions For Dubious Missing Children ID Kits

Over the past quarter-century, former NFL player Kenny Hansmire has leaned on government officials across the U.S. to support the National Child Identification Program. The Texas-based company sells kits that it claims help track down missing kids. A ProPublica and Texas Tribune investigation found that politicians have committed millions of dollars to purchasing the fingerprinting kits despite little evidence of their effectiveness and the company’s use of exaggerated missing-child data. Numerous Texas law enforcement agencies said they couldn’t recall using a kit to help find a runaway or kidnapped child. For Hansmire, his program stands out as a success amid a decadeslong string of troubled business ventures, from municipal debt collection to college all-star football games.

Hansmire has formed or been involved with at least a dozen Texas businesses in the past three decades. Many of them have faced lawsuits from creditors, lenders or contractors for unpaid bills, or they lost the right to operate in the state after failing to pay taxes or file tax returns. Hansmire said his company’s kits have been lauded by law enforcement leaders for helping during the “first and most critical minutes of a search for a missing child.” Little information is available on Hansmire’s more recent companies. They have no websites. A filing for a company called the Safety Blitz Foundation says its mission is “to provide child ID safety kits that allow parents to collect specific information by easily recording the physical characteristics and fingerprints of their children on identification cards that are kept by the parent or guardian.”


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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