Sheriff Christopher Moss of Chemung County used the annual Strong Kids/Safe Kids event on August 21 as an opportunity to offer the Operation SAFECHILD Card program to children from the Southern Tier, with the additional support and participation of the Schuyler and Steuben County Sheriff's Offices.
Sheriff's Deputies from Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben Counties processed over 400 cards in approximately three hours, many of which were updating their photos and physical characteristics as they've grown older. Operation SAFECHILD collects and stores data that describes a child appearance, including age, height, weight, hair and eye color, any medical conditions, and index fingerprints. This information is printed on a laminated card and given to the parent, and with their authorization, the data is stored on a secure server maintained by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services until they reach age 18.
Sheriff Moss points out that when a child is reported missing, time can be the greatest adversary. Possessing up-to-date photographs and detailed information about a child assists law enforcement in quickly responding to a child's disappearance, dramatically increasing the possibility of safely returning a missing child. Sheriff Joel Ordway of Steuben County and Sheriff William E. Yessman of Schuyler County are equally committed to the value of this program, and have assigned deputies to support this program throughout their counties.
Sheriffs Moss, Ordway and Yessman confirm the success of the Operation SAFECHILD program as evidenced by its popularity with families with children. The program is now administered by the New York State Sheriffs' Association, is largely supported by gifts from donors, and is presently seeking corporate sponsors. The service is offered at no charge to the public.