Massachusetts Sentinel and Enterprise
CHIP in to help fight child abductions
LUNENBURG -- The town's public schools for the first time will be participating in a child-identification program offered by the local police department and the local chapter of the Freemasons of Massachusetts.
Freemasons have worked with police departments around the country to offer the so-called CHIP program, short for Child Identification Program. It is a free service to parents of school-age children and allows the children the opportunity to be identified in case of abduction or other crime.
Roger E. Winchester, district deputy grand master of the Fitchburg 13th Masonic District, and Chief of Police Daniel Bourgeois were on hand at the Thomas E. Passios Elementary School to introduce the kickoff of the program.
"Over 100,000 kids have been in the program within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," Winchester said. "This program is considered the best identification program by the FBI, and the Bureau of Missing Children."
The program entails fingerprinting, done by Lunenburg police; a dental imprint, which is done by local dentists and hygenists; and a video, with the child talking about what they like to do; and how to call 911 in case of emergency.
"The parents receive the entire kit for their safekeeping. It is part of the community policing services," Bourgeois said. "With the situation going on all around us, this is a help in dealing with exploited and missing children. It is a win-win situation."
Winchester noted that there have been incidences of a child being abducted, and a trained dog finding the child by the saliva left on the dental imprint. "It also houses some DNA," Winchester said.
The Freemasons supply all the materials.
"We have already done the Leominster school system, both parochial and public schools. We are hoping to get into the Fitchburg system as well," Winchester said.
The dates for Lunenburg will be Wednesday, Nov. 6, and Friday, Nov. 8. Any parents interested in volunteering to help may contact T.C. Passios Elementary School.