Precious minutes are saved when law enforcement can quickly access a child’s information during a disaster. That is why a police department in North Carolina has recently purchased a digital fingerprint identification machine to register children in the community and print child ID cards.

The identification card system, consisting of a laptop, a fingerprint scanner, printer and camera, creates an identification card, which parents can keep at home. The information is also saved to the department’s computer system, making it easily accessible in case of an emergency.

Should the occasion arise, parents or guardians can quickly relay information to police, thus speeding up the process of finding a missing child. “If we have to use it and it saves one child, it’s worth its weight in gold,” said the Police Chief.

Since its arrival in October, the system has been making its way around the town. At least 200 children have been issued an identification card at local events such as the town’s Christmas parade and fall festival. The department also visited the local Elementary School and the Head Start program to register children.

There has not been a need to utilize any of the child ID cards distributed; however, in emergency situations, the cards will be an indispensable resource. If a kid is ever kidnapped or lost, whatever the case may be, when the parent contacts law enforcement she has something tangible that she can hand the officer and say ‘this is everything that you need to know about my child with an updated picture.’ The oversized child ID cards list the child’s demographic information, such as height and weight, along with an updated photo and the child’s fingerprints.

Precious minutes are saved when law enforcement can quickly access the child’s information with the card and through the computer system, officers said. Officers have two hours to submit a child’s information to the Division of Criminal Information (DCI) to initiate an Amber alert. The identification cards and having information saved to the department’s computer system will allow officers to submit information well within that time frame.