LOWVILLE The village of Lowville Board of Trustees has approved the purchase of an Operation Safe Child system.
The equipment, at a cost of approximately $7,700, collects photographs and identifying information for children younger than 18 to be used if a child goes missing.
Village Police Chief Eric C. Fredenburg explained the department had secured $5,000 for the system several years ago, but had not purchased it at the time. Instead, it awaited the release of the latest program, which is designed specifically for New York state and became available a few weeks ago. An application was submitted to the George R. Davis Fund, but a grant was not awarded to the department. Chief Fredenburg requested permission for the balance to be used from an equipment fund and the board unanimously approved it.
Following the vote, Trustee Danny L. Salmon requested the board ask Lewis County to split the cost because the equipment will be used for children throughout Lewis County and the Sheriffs Department does not have such equipment. That resolution passed and a request for $3,750 will be passed on to county legislators.
Nothing is going to stop us from buying the equipment, said Mr. Salmon, explaining the village would still purchase the system without the countys assistance. Its for the whole county and the Sheriffs Department doesnt have one. I hope theyd share the cost. Nothing is more important than protecting our youth.
Chief Fredenburg hopes to receive the equipment and train officers to use it before the Lewis County Fair. Previously, the department borrowed a system from the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department for use during fair week, issuing more than 500 identification cards to Lewis County children.
When participating in the program, parents provide information to the department such as the childs name, age and address. Officers will weigh and measure children, as well as take their photograph. That information will be printed on long-lasting polyvinyl chloride identification cards and added to the Operation Safe Child system. In the event a child goes missing, that information can be accessed immediately to initiate an Amber Alert.
Parents may opt out of having their childs information stored in the system but still receive an identification card. All information is purged when the child reaches 18, and there is no charge to parents for the cards.
Its a useful tool whether they want to be in the system or not, said John Wisniewski, owner and creator of the EZ Child ID system.