Nothing strikes more fear into a parent than a lost child.
Nothing is more frightening than those first few minutes when you realize they are gone, and a parent can feel helpless.
Most of those instances have a happy ending, but not all, and precautions always need to be taken to keep your child safe.
That is where the Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge and the Cochise Shrine Club helps.
They recently purchased a AZ CHIP (Arizona Child Identification Program) kit which allows them to provide identification records for children, adults and the elderly.
The AZCHIP Child ID Program provides parents and guardians with a “Child ID Kit” that contains all the vital information necessary to expedite law enforcement efforts to locate a missing child. The program also helps to educate families about abduction prevention and safety.
In a matter of minutes, you’ll walk away with a “Child ID Kit” that includes everything needed for the Amber Alert system and more. In fact, it’s considered to be one of the most comprehensive child recovery and identification programs in the nation by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The kit, which cost $5,000, was purchased with donations from local members of the Masonic Lodge and Cochise Shine Club along with $1,500 donations from each of the organizations, said Joe Stemple, secretary for the Lodge and President of the Shrine Club.
The group has already processed more than 200 people and provide the service at least once a month.
They will be at the Douglas Wal-Mart, near the front entrance on the grocery side, from 1 to 4 p.m. today, Saturday, March 21.
“Wal-Mart has been a great help, allowing us to set up in the store and donating the consumables we use when we provide the kits,” Stemple said.
“We will set up for special events, at schools and organizations but need at least two weeks notice,” said Tim Behle, coordinator of the CHIP program.
He also said that they have gone down on a regular basis to provide ID kits for children and adult victims at the House of Hope.
“The program is not relegated to just Douglas. We will provide service in Bisbee or Tombstone or the Sulphur Springs Valley. We have also done quite of few IDs for children from Mexico,” he said.
The “Child ID Kit”
The AZCHIP Child ID Program is simple and only takes about 10 minutes per child to complete. The latest techniques and computer technology are used to record a child’s unique characteristics. Once completed, each child will have their own “Child ID Kit” that includes:
√ Photo ID Card: for parents or guardians to carry.
√ Color Photos: for circulation by police to media throughout the state within minutes of a reported abduction.
√ Digital Fingerprints: a complete set of laser-scanned fingerprints
√ Recorded Interview: to capture speech, appearance, mannerisms, and other characteristics that can’t be changed by cosmetic means.
√ DNA: from cheek cells in saliva, universally considered one of the most accurate identification tools.
√ Amber Alert Profile: a complete profile of information required for law enforcement to issue an Amber Alert.
Stemple said that if a mistake is made on a form, it is shredded and all of the information goes with the individual. The only item retained by the Masonic Lodge is the permission slip that allowed them to prepare the ID kit.
It is recommended that families update their kits every two years.
The group will accept donations to help pay for the consumables and have a donation jar at each event.
If you would like to set up an activity or make a donation, call 249-9567 or 642-1389.