Using modern technology to save children’s lives is not just an Atlanta-metro area trend, but Chattooga County Sheriff John Everett plans to make it a reality here.

     The sheriff supports using a specialized unit, dubbed Georgia’s Child Identification Program (C.H.I.P). It provides parents with a copy of their children’s DNA, teeth imprints, digital fingerprints, photos and other child identification.

      “We have never done anything, to my knowledge, like that. Our kids are just as important as the other communities and counties,” Sheriff Everett said.

      The sheriff is teaming up with the Georgia Masonic Lodge and will help to host the free event starting from noon to 4 p.m. on Nov. 14. The event is planned for the Chattooga Masonic Lodge behind the Summerville (formerly Cowboys) BP gas station and off Marvin Avenue.

     “Anything we can do, if a kid was abducted or came up missing and to help find them, we need to do it,” Sheriff Everett said. “They give the kids a wafer to chew on. It gets their teeth prints and DNA.”

     The event is open to all children aged four to sixteen. Children must be accompanied by a parent.

Local members of the Free and Accepted Freemasons are paying the bill for getting the specialized unit to Chattooga County, according to Trion Lodge member Dewayne Treadaway. The lodge will not keep any information except the permission slips signed by parents.

All the data collected is turned over to the parents. It’s for the parents to use if their kids come up missing or abducted.

Already this year, several occasions have popped up when rescue members were looking for children lost in the woods or those that fell in the river. A CHIPs package would aid law enforcement in knowing exactly who they were looking for in those extreme cases.

The CHIP program gathers information about a child – including height, weight, fingerprints, any identifying scars or marks, etc. – and stores it on a computer disk formatted for the Amber Alert system.

The program also takes molds of a child’s teeth and a DNA sample. Also included is an on-camera interview.

From: THE SUMMERVILLE NEWS