By Darren Lum
Having vital information about your child is a big help to law enforcement agencies in cases of missing children said local Mason member and past grand registrar of the Grand Lodge of Canada Roger Hillier.
The local Masons are inviting parents and guardians to take advantage of their Masonic Child Identification Program on Saturday May 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Masonic Temple in Haliburton located at 20 George Street.
“If the child goes lost or whatever then here you are. Bang all the information is there” he said referring to the collection of information on one CD.
Hillier a member since 1996 said a team of volunteers which includes hygienists will help with the collection of pertinent information.
This includes a visual record of the child with a photograph an audible and visual record from a short video identification via digital fingerprints a list of vital information and a dental impression or Intra Oral Swab for DNA.
Hillier recommends parents/guardians come prepared with a list of emergency contact names relevant addresses and phone numbers distinguishing marks and scars allergies medications height and weight. The whole process for this intake takes 15 minutes Hillier said.
Eligible participants can be babies up to children aged 18. In the past the youngest participant in Haliburton was three-years-old and as old as 16 he said.
Hillier said the point of the day is to help everyone they can so if you’re a little late it’s OK.
“Whoever comes we’ll do … If there is a lineup the guys will stay. You know we won’t turn anybody away. Simple as that” he said.
No appointment is needed and all the information processed will be by volunteers that have been screened with a police check.
He assures parents that information is not kept by the Masons.
Parents/guardians will take all of the collected information home with them on a CD which is compatible with the Amber alert system used by law enforcement authorities according to the Haliburton Mason press release.
“The only thing we keep is just the consent form which the parents sign. Everything else goes back to the parent. We keep nothing” he said.
This is the third time the local Masonic Lodge has held this program. It is held every two years accounting for the changes in children as they grow up. He recommends children go through this process every two years so things stay current.
When the OPP’s Const. Dianna Dauphinee was asked about the police’s stance on the program she wrote in an email “the OPP supports any program that can be shown to help prevent crime and victimization and or improves public safety.”
Hillier implores parents to come who might be uncertain or on the fence about bringing their children.
“If a child goes missing what are you supposed to do? It’s your child you know. It costs you nothing it’s free. If it means you can maybe get that child back in one piece boy it’s worth it” he said.
“It’s your child. We’re just here to help. Do what we can” he said.