Relatively new computer technology could give local parents a bit more peace of mind as Amber Alerts seem to become more common. The Claiborne Commission was asked last week by local resident Bill Ausmus to consider jumping onto the Tennessee Child Identification Program wagon spearheaded by members of the Freemasons from across the state.
Ausmus said the free program, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, would allow parents to build a more comprehensive kit including such identifying markers as fingerprints, blood type, DNA, hair samples and would include basic features like eye color, height, weight and scars. A current photograph and a comprehensive questionnaire including emergency contact information for physicians, dentists and relatives and a complete outline of medications and medical conditions would be included in the identification kit.
Ausmus said all information input into the computer software program at the time the kits are created is immediately deleted from the database once the information is loaded onto the thumb drive or CD for placement inside each kit.
Part of the new technology used, he said, involves the latest in fingerprinting. The TNCHIP also uses voice recognition technology and is capable of creating short videos of each child.
The enhanced program allows instant distribution across the country of the child’s information via computer technology, in the event a child is abducted or missing.
The county will need to pay about $2,835 to create its own program. It will cost up to $5,000 annually to keep the program going. That money is normally drawn from the police and sheriff’s department drug funds, said Ausmus.
Currently 47 states are using the program. TNCHIP is currently in its fifth year of operation and is being used by several neighboring counties in east Tennessee, he said.
According to the TNCHIP website, no invasive procedures are involved and microchips are not a part of the program.
In other action, the commissioners agreed to pave an approximately one-half mile of currently graveled section of Blue Top Road that runs by the County Convenience Center. The Road Department, whose headquarters sits diagonally across from the Center, has agreed to pay $1,500 toward the $7,160 project costs.
Commissioner Bill Keck estimated about 2,000 vehicles pass along that section of roadway on Saturdays.
Reach Jan Runions at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @scribeCP.