Generations Bank Funds New Safe Child ID Card Equipment for Seneca County Police Agencies
Seneca Fall Police Department, Waterloo Police Department and Interlaken Police Department will share the equipment to benefit the jurisdictions they protect and serve
Seneca Falls, N.Y. – Generations Bank announced today it has partnered with local Police Agencies by funding the equipment for Safe Child ID cards for their respective jurisdictions.
Statistics show that thirty-four percent of parents in the United States do not know their child’s exact height, weight, and eye color. Statistics also show that every day 2000 children are reported missing in the United States and that every year 200,000 children are taken and abducted by family members, while another 58,000 children are victims of non-family abductions. In those circumstances, time can be the greatest adversary. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the first two hours after a child is abducted are the most critical. That is why possessing up-to-date photographs and detailed information about a child can prove to be important proactive measures that can greatly assist local law enforcement officials to quickly respond to a child’s disappearance and greatly aids in the child’s recovery and safe return to family members. It is for this reason that Operation Safe Child was created.
Operation Safe Child was created in 2005 in a joint partnership between the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, New York State Police and the New York City Police Department. Using computer software and related equipment, information about a child (the child’s name, height, weight, date of birth, gender, hair color, eye color), along with a photograph and images of the child’s index fingers, are obtained and printed onto a card for parents to keep and are small enough to fit into a wallet or pocketbook. When a child goes missing or is abducted, parents are advised to produce that card to the local law enforcement agency responding. Information contained on the card can greatly assist local law enforcement and has been used when AMBER Alerts are sent. Along with the cards, information about the child, through the use of the Operation Safe Child software programming, is also, with parental consent, stored on a secure server at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services database. This information can only be used by law enforcement for the purposes of a missing person investigation and is automatically deleted upon the child’s eighteenth birthday. Operation Safe Child cards are given to parents at no cost and are part of the services of most local law enforcement agencies provide to the community. Presently, the Seneca Falls Police Department is in charge of Operation Safe Child events and related-activities in the Town of Seneca Falls. Officers are seen at local community-oriented events, including Canal Fest and the St. Anthony’s Festival, and have also completed Operation Safe Child program activities as part of Fire Prevention Week and for enrolled students, specifically from Kindergarten through eighth grade, of the Seneca Falls School District and Seneca County Head Start Program.
“Due to the generous donation and the partnership we have with Generations Bank, this new equipment will help to ensure our children, our future, can be protected, identified, and returned to local families in the event of a child abduction or when a child goes missing,” noted Seneca Falls Police Chief Stu Peenstra.
The Seneca Falls Police Department has been able to complete this service to the community free-of-charge for the past ten years through grants to purchase equipment needed to perform this service to the community. Unfortunately, the equipment, which has been used by the police department since the program’s inception to produce thousands of child IDs, is in need of an upgrade, as modern technology continues to advance and programs like this continue to flourish and need to upgrade with the times. Because of statewide budget cuts and elimination of services available to law enforcement, New York State has left the purchase of the new equipment to local law enforcement agencies involved in the Operation Safe Child Program. With budget cuts made to all town services, financing the purchase of this equipment was not possible with the current police department budget. The $6,500 funding from Generations will allow the police department to continue to provide child IDs for between 700-800 children each year.
“Children are our future and it is a sad reality that so many children go missing each year,” remarked Generations Bank President & CEO Menzo Case. “As a community, we need to support programs like Safe Child and Generations Bank is proud to fund this essential equipment to support our local law enforcement and to support safety for our communities, especially the children.”
The new equipment is in place and will be managed and maintained by the Seneca Falls Police Department. It will be first used at future community events and families are encouraged to take part and get ID Cards for their children.
Menzo Case & Generations Bank will be presented with an award of appreciation by the Chief Stu Peenstra on behalf of the Seneca Falls Police Department at the Seneca Falls Town Board meeting on Tuesday September 5th, 2017 at 7pm. The meeting is open to the public.