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HCSO debuts kids’ ID machine

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By Brad Bowman

The Henry County Sheriff’s Department’s new identification machine will allow parents to keep accurate information about their children safely not just in the county but across the country.

The new identification card, ‘kidprintID,’ will have the standard information such as: height, weight, eye and hair color, and home address, but also will have a laser scanned thumbprint on the back of the identification card. The entire system allows the department to take a photograph, enter detailed information about the child and scan the thumbprint in one setting. Henry County Sheriff Danny Cravens added the information will be stored in a secured database offline and parent’s will also have the option to input more information than the ID displays.

“If parents want to store medical information like their child’s medical conditions, we can do that here,” Cravens said. “Whether they have diabetes, epilepsy or allergies to certain medications in the event of an emergency.”

If during a family vacation in another state, a child goes missing the Sheriff’s Department can easily share the information with another law enforcement agency.

“Parents are already distraught in a situation like that,” Cravens said. “We can share the information with a click of a button with the FBI, the CIA or other law enforcement agencies and provide accurate information not on the id like scars, birthmarks, or medical conditions.”

Law enforcement agencies can immediately print a missing child notice for public display and for digital distribution from a child’s information file. The database is easily searchable by name, allowing law enforcement to act quickly instead of compiling physical records that may be outdated or less timely for dissemination to other departments.

“We did the Polaroid kit before that had a child’s picture with a disposable camera from Polaroid and their fingerprints, but there was no place to annually store it,” Cravens said. “The picture and information wasn’t precise and we couldn’t instantly share the information like we can now. My goal is to have this set up not just at public events, but here at the sheriff’s office.”

The sheriff’s department did a trial run with the new ID machine at the Harvest Showcase. They issued 48 children IDs and will have a booth at Eminence Day this Saturday, August 11.

The department hopes to also set up at Pleasureville Day and for local organizations like Cub Scouts and the Brownies.

“The IDs will be given out at no cost to the public,” Cravens said. “We may charge a small fee if parents want to have multiple IDs — one for their children to have on hand and one for safe keeping at home.”

Many children participated at Harvest Showcase without their parents, Cravens said. The department didn’t want to turn them away and hope to keeps costs at minimum so any child in the county can have an ID.

“If we have an emergency or natural disaster in Henry County like we did earlier this year in Kentucky and Henryville, Ind. this information could help,” Cravens said. “It’s taken us some time to put this together. Lee Ann Armstrong (Eminence councilwoman) helped push for this when I started looking into the system and has offered to volunteer her time to ID kids. She has really supported us in making this happen.”

The Sheriff’s Department secured the funding through a federal technology upgrade grant. Through Representative Geoff Davis’ office, the department applied for the grant and the process took more than a year and half. The department had to set up a bank account where funds could be electronically deposited upon approval.

“The company was instrumental for us to get the funding. They had to produce an invoice for us before we could get okayed for the costs,” Cravens said. “It took four to six weeks after that for us to receive the system, get the system software updated through the company, but it is state of the art for an identification system.”

The department encourages the parents to update their child’s information annually. The back of the ID card lists steps for parents in case of an emergency:

1. When a child is missing act quickly, time is of the essence

2. Call the police immediately. Don’t wait, stay calm

3. Show the police the kidprint ID card.

4. Alert friends, neighbors, and relatives, Organize a search for your child as quickly as possible

5.Check your child’s favorite play areas and have someone else check these areas again.

6. Be prepared. Child protection is the responsibility of everyone.

 

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com