The Sheriff’s successful CHILD Project has enrolled more than 2,000 Berkshire County elementary school students.
The CHILD Project, and the affiliated Senior Safety Net for senior citizens, use iris scan biometric technology to enter participants into a national data bank. The program helps identify missing children or senior citizens and helps return them safely home.
The 2,000th student to be registered was Makenzie C. LeClair, a fifth grader at Silvio O. Conte Community School in Pittsfield. His principal, Donna Leep, was on hand to watch his information entered into the data bank on January 22, 2010. Makenzie was among 48 Conte students who took part in the program, which has visited 14 schools since the program was launched in June 2007.
All three North Adams public elementary schools, Sullivan, Greylock and Brayton, have taken part in the program along with Cheshire Elementary School, Clarksburg Elementary School, Savoy Elementary School, Plunkett Elementary School in Adams, Muddy Brook Elementary School in Great Barrington, Craneville Elementary School in Dalton and Conte, Capeless, Stearns, Williams and Allendale Schools in Pittsfield.
The CHILD (Children’s Identification and Location Database) Project involves a simple high-speed digital photo of the individual’s irises. After the photo is taken, the iris data is analyzed and a 688-byte code is created and compared to all codes in a national database maintained by the Nation’s Missing Children Organization (or the National Center for Missing Adults) based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Nationally, more than 2,000 children are reported missing daily, and there are more than 47,000 active missing adult cases.
Sheriff’s Offices statewide take part in the project, financed through a $439,000 appropriation by the state legislature. Sheriff’s Deputies have been trained in the use of the technology.