Thursday, March 15, Orion Lodge #8, under the Grand Lodge of Georgia, hosted the third local GACHIP (Georgia Child Identification Program) event of the month at West Bainbridge Elementary. Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies and other volunteers were on hand to assist in collecting information from second and third graders.
The GACHIP is a free program, offered to parents and children, which creates an ID packet for use in the event a child goes missing. Parents fill out a form and sign a permission slip to allow further information to be gathered about their child.
Children went through various identification stations to gather their height, weight and a DNA swab of the mouth. The next station involved collecting the child’s fingerprints and front and side profile pictures. A short video was taken of the child answering questions that will assist law enforcement as to the potential whereabouts, if the child is ever reported missing.
Once all the information is collected it is downloaded to a disc and given to parents for safekeeping. After the information is placed on the disc, the computer deletes all the information and begins on the next child. The only records kept are in the ID packet that is sent to the parents. If the unspeakable happens, and the child goes missing, parents will have a resource on hand to assist law enforcement in the recovery of their child.
Local GACHIP director, Michael Rentz, hopes to apply dental impressions in the future to have even more precise records to locate and identify missing children.
The Orion Lodge #8 will host this program at Potter Street Elementary next Thursday, March 22 and at Jones-Wheat Elementary on Thursday, March 29.