By Carolyn Marnon – Michigan Masons have stepped up to help with a comprehensive child recovery and identification program. The Michigan Child ID Program provides parents a “Child ID Kit” that contains all the vital information necessary to expedite law enforcement efforts to locate a missing child. The kit includes a photo ID card, color photo, digital fingerprints, recorded interview to capture speech characteristics, dental impressions, DNA, and a complete Amber Alert profile.
Recently, the Dearborn Masons were at Willow Creek Co-operative Preschool in Westland to introduce the program to the parents there. Paul Johnson, the MI Child ID program regional coordinator, said this program helps the parent provide information to the police to do an Amber Alert in the case of an abduction or missing child situation.
In the past, information collected was downloaded to a CD. An EZ Child ID mobile app is now available which saves the information to a parent’s phone. The parent also gets a flashdrive with pertinent information about their child on it. This mobile app was being rolled out in Michigan for the first time last month. It can be used on both androids and iPhones.
At the preschool event, parents were able to have their child sit with an EZ Child representative to record information that was needed by police in the event of a missing child. Still photos are taken of the child which can include full face, left side of face and right side of face. Children hold a microphone and are asked a short series of questions. By answering these questions, a recording of their voice and speech characteristics is captured. Fingerprints of each finger are captured through a fingerprint device attached to the computer. Data about the child is entered into the computer program. When done, the information is saved to a flashdrive for the parent. The parent can also download all the information to their smartphone. Once it is downloaded and the flashdrive given to the parent, the information on the computer is wiped clean. Nothing is saved. There is no child ID database. If a child goes missing, it is up to the parent to send the information to the police through the app or by giving police the flashdrive. According to the EZ Child ID website, “To help protect from identity theft, our software was written so that no information from the child is saved on the computer. Once you start over, all of the data is permanently erased. The parent is the only person who retains their child’s information. “
The Masons also provided a Bite Plate Kit so the parent can get a dental impression at home. The parent is instructed to put on gloves, heat the bite plate with warm water and then have the child bite into it. The child’s bite also provides the child’s DNA which is why the parent is instructed to use the gloves so as not to contaminate the bite plate with their own DNA.
The Masons hold 25-30 Michigan Child ID programs throughout the year. Anyone can hold an event at no charge.
If you go to the website MichiganChildID.org you can view a calendar of all events statewide. The next local event will be held at Ford Field on the corner of Farmington Road and Linden Street in Livonia during the Livonia Spree Festival June 23-25. Times are as follows: Friday: 4:00-8:00 p.m. Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sunday: Noon-8:00 p.m.