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Franklin County to expand child ID program

One North Country county will soon begin offering child identification cards that aid police in their search for missing children.

Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill outlined the goals of the program during Monday night's regular meeting of the Tupper Lake Village Board of Trustees.

"My ultimate goal is that once a year we go around to each school district and we do either the kindergarten class or the first grade class of every student in Franklin County, so that every parent gets a card with the information on it," he said.

In order to make that happen, Mulverhill says the county needs its own portable ID processing equipment. He adds that area civic groups have contributed, but more funds are still needed to meet the county's $5,000 goal.

The ID cards look like a drivers license. They contain a photo of the child, biographical information and fingerprints.

The cards and database allow essential missing child information to be electronically disseminated statewide within minutes. Mulverhill says it dramatically increases the possibility of bringing a missing child home safely.

"All we need is the child's name and we can pull their photo up and all the pertinent information and get that information out within 15 minutes of a child being reported missing," he said. "That's the great thing about the child safe program."

Village officials applauded the program, but said they wanted assurances that the county would follow through with the plan.

Tom Fee is chief of the Tupper Lake Police Department. He says that in the past, the county had let them down on other initiatives, including a police dispatching program that it backed out of last year.

"Just like 911, there seems to be amnesia down at Franklin County," Fee said. "I would like a written agreement that you're going to come out here and [ID] our kids."

Mulverhill said he would "hammer something out" between the county and the village.

Operation Safe Child is a voluntary program offered through the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

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