Child ID system in Cumberland Co. could help officials find missing children

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CARLISLE, Pa. -- It can be a parent's worst nightmare: A child goes missing.

Now Cumberland County has an updated system in place that could help parents find their loved ones.

Corporal Shawn Gutshall with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said, "This is huge. We're very happy to be back up and running with the system. We've been down for a little over a year now. So we're very excited."

It's easy to use. All parents need to do is provide information to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, scan their child's fingerprint and get his or her picture taken.

Even if a child goes missing in another area, the kid's information will be in the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office system, so officials there can help.

Gutshall said, "Especially if something would happen, they have the opportunity to give us a call. We have not only their picture, but we have their thumbprint as well on the ID card."

He said the old identification system was outdated and the department needed new equipment.

The Carlisle Regional Medical Center and Carlisle Area Healthcare Auxiliary wanted to help.

Juliana Masterson, with Carlisle Area Healthcare Auxiliary, said, "We looked around at ourselves and we said, 'Wait a minute. We can't let this happen. It's too personal. It impacts everybody. It might someday down the road. It might impact me, you, family members."

Together the organizations raised $6,000 in donations to get a new system.

In Cumberland County, officials said they are thankful they've never had to use the system to find a child, but you never know what the future could bring.

Denise Garman, with the Carlisle Regional Medical Center, said, "What if something did happen while they were at school, or something like that waiting for the bus? You could at least get this kind of information immediately to the media, to other law enforcement agencies, to start looking for a child right away."

The Sheriff's Office will have the child identification system at the Downtown Mile in Carlisle on May 18.

Officials also recommend parents take pictures of their kids before the children go to an event so parents can identify what their child is wearing. They also suggest updating the child's information in their county's system every year.