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Digital Finger Printing Gives Parents Peace of Mind

By Modupe Idowu
By midowu@wbbjtv.com

With recent kidnapping in West Tennessee, the Henry County Sheriff's Department has come up with a free program to ease the mind of parents with young children.

It is the Henry County Sheriff's Department Safety I.D. program. It is where students and parents receive I.D.s with digital fingerprints and other valuable information to help track down children if they are lost or have been abducted.

While innocent children of Henry Elementary School played after school, their parents were on edge.

"Terrible. Just terrible," is how grandparent Dora McClure described how she felt after learning of recent abductions in Hardeman County.

"It is a parent's worst fear, and I can say that as a law officer and as a parent. I would assume when you're child becomes lost or child is just out of your sight, you panic," said Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew.

Henry County officials said the recent up-tick in attempted abductions and missing children cases in Tennessee is one reason why the Henry County Sheriff's Department kicked off its Safety I.D. Program for students in kindergarten through 8th grade.

Officials believe the finger printed I.D. would help if a child were abducted or missing.

'It has their picture on it, their name, their birth date and on the back is their finger print. That way if the sheriff's department ever needs that, they have it quickly and ready to go," said Henry Elementary School Counselor Jeannie Johnson.

"It just gives a good reference point for the officer that's first on the scene to hopefully be able to know what the child looks like to the facial features of the child, hair color, eye color, things of that nature," said Sheriff Belew.

Officials said the I.D.s come at a good time, right before the summer. Parents and school officials said the program has provided them with some peace of mind.

"It makes you feel better, anything to keep these children safer," said McClure.

"In a small community you think they're going to be safe at all times, but that's not always the case. We need to be prepared, said Johnson.