Saratoga County

Saratoga County may take over child ID program

The county will consider taking over a child safety identification card program that Saratoga Spring

The county will consider taking over a child safety identification card program that Saratoga Springs officials have cut due to financial problems.

The county’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday agreed to look at whether something can be done to resume the Operation Safe Child ID program.

“I’d like the county to see how this program could continue,” said committee Chairwoman Mindy Wormuth, R-Halfmoon.

But she cautioned that the county didn’t need to duplicate the program if the state police or other agencies were already doing it.

Operation Safe Child was established by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services in 2005. It provides a card with identifying information on a child to parents, so they can provide a photo and other information to authorities in the event their child goes missing.

The equipment uses digital fingerprinting technology and high resolution photography to produce the cards for parents and guardians.

The Safe Child cards contain a child’s name, biographical information including date of birth, gender, height, weight, hair color, eye color, and a fingerprint image of both index fingers. The card is made in less than two minutes, according to state officials, and can be easily carried in a wallet or pocketbook.

The county got a $15,000 state grant in 2007 to buy the ID card equipment, but the Saratoga Springs police took the lead in getting trained, maintaining the equipment and operating the program. While the program operated, ID cards were made for about 2,000 Saratoga County children, in the city and in other communities and schools. Generally, the equipment was brought to community events and cards were made on the spot.

Supervisor Matthew Veitch, R-Saratoga Springs, said the program cost the city about $7,000 in personnel costs in the last 11⁄2 years, and was eliminated when other cuts were being made in the police budget last fall.

“This program has already been cut from the budget. We’re looking for a way to continue the program,” said Veitch, who brought the request to the Public Safety Committee.

Wormuth named a subcommittee of Veitch; Mary Ann Johnson, R-Day; and Preston Jenkins, D-Moreau, to look at ways to keep the program going.

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