By Jason A. Smith
Parents will have an opportunity this weekend, to register their kids in a program that aids in finding missing children.
The Georgia Child Identification Program (CHIP) will be administered to children during the Bear Creek Festival in Hampton. The free service, sponsored by Masonic Lodge No. 70, will be available Saturday, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from noon, to 5 p.m.
CHIP representatives will take photographs of children registering for the program, and will obtain teeth impressions, voice recordings and DNA samples from the children, according to Hampton Police Chief Rad Porter.
"They do not have to be a resident of Hampton, to have this done," said Porter, who is also a member of the local lodge.
The chief added that CHIP helps to comfort parents, in the event their children are missing. Porter said 284 children were registered through CHIP at last year's Bear Creek Festival.
"It's a really good program," said Porter. "It's the most thorough child ID program, that I know of, that exists. It has everything that the police would need to make a report."
Barry Brooks holds the title of Worshipful Master for the local lodge, and said CHIP helped authorities in Georgia find two children who were missing last year.
"This year, they will reach a milestone of 50,000 children, that will have been certified," Brooks said. "It helps a parent, who would normally be frantic, provide information to authorities."
For more details, visit www.gachip.org.