MECHIP is a comprehensive child identification program designed to give families a measure of protection against the ever increasing problem of missing children. The Maine Freemasons are in the process of bringing this fine program to communities throughout Maine. In the weeks ahead, The Grand Lodge of Maine will be working with other supporting agencies to upgrade the technology from VHS recordings to digital recorded interviews and scanned fingerprints on CDs as part of our ongoing commitment to children and families. This program will be brought free of charge to every Maine family who wishes to participate.
How does it work?
The program consists of four major components:
~ a brief recorded interview
~ digital still photographs (4 positions)
~ dental bite impression (when available) or cheek swab
The recorded interview video with audio is a recovery tool that provides far more individual characteristics and manneurisms than does a still photograph. The digital photographs are valuable recovery tool for posting to the Amber alert system. Fingerprinting is a tried and true method of individual identification. The dental bite impression provides an impression of the biting surface of teeth which, like fingerprints, are unique to each individual. The dental impression also collects enough saliva to provide DNA and a source for scent in canine recovery. The cheek swab when taken also provides DNA. Together, these four measures provide a most powerful identification and recovery tool.
MECHIP GOES DIGITAL
MECHIP is in the process of upgrading its method of generating identifying items for parents and guardians to take home for safe keeping. This includes the use of computers, web cameras, scanning equipment all with digital technology to:
- type in physical description of each child,
- record a video interview with voice pattern,
All identifying items generated are arranged on a color print out, burned onto a CD disk and erased from the computer before the set-up is employed for the next participant. All the above items can now be generated at a single event station (historically our VHS technology demanded three separate stations).
The Maine Freemasons maintain the MECHIP integrity that all identifying items generated at MECHIP EVENTS goes home for safe keeping. NO INFORMATION IS KEPT BY ANYONE INVOLVED FOR ANY REASON ... except the permission slip signed prior to participation in the event.
The participant then continues to the Toothprints (if Toothprints are being offered) generating station and adds that identifying item to complete their package to take home for safe keeping.
If a Child who has participated in a MECHIP Event becomes missing or abducted, their parents have the MECHIP Package on hand to give to law enforcement agencies to aid in recovery.
We recommend that you have your child participate in a MECHIP EVENT every year ..... continuing through until age 18 years old, to assure you have identified their latest features and mannerisms.