RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - As the search for Serenity Dennard continues, parents are wondering what they can do to keep their children safe. There may not be any one way to do so, but the Child Identification Program can help in some cases.
During the Black Hills Sport Show and Outdoor Expo, volunteers will help put together ID kits for parents to have in case their child is abducted or goes missing. This is the 10th year the Masons of South Dakota are doing this free of charge for parents.
The child Identification Program or CHIP is a national program to provide parents with a packet of all the information that may be required for an Amber Alert if their child goes missing.
"You hear a lot of the very scary things that happen now a days and you know the abductions. Obviously recent things that happened in our own community and so just having that extra protection and that peace of mind knowing that if something happens you have a plan to start with," says Cyrissa Thompson, a first time mother who brought her son to get a kit.
These free kits include a still photo, a video photo with the child rotating to see all angles, finger prints, dental imprints, and a card with a physical description of the child like height, weight, hair color, and eye color. Since children also grow quickly it's recommended to get a new kit every two years.
"If something did happen where your child did go missing you don't necessarily have- you're not in the right state of mind so to pull that physical paper out you know it's all right there it's ready to go, it's on a disk, it's compiled, it's ready for you so that you're not having to search frantically for all that information to provide," Thompson says.
Another important piece of this kit is a recorded interview where volunteers ask a child questions like who their best friend is and where they like to hide. These questions can help parents and authorities rule out any obvious locations a child could be, just as they did for one boy in Nebraska when they called his best friend.
"Well where they were at they made the big culverts for road construction, they would go down there and they would lay in the pipes and they would watch the traffic on the interstate and that's where he was he was sleeping," says Jack Welker, West River CHIP coordinator.
Welker mentioned that they recommend having a kit for children and young adults between the ages of two and 20, but they will make kits for younger children and older adults if a parent or guardian feel's it's necessary. If you would like to get your free child identification kit you can still do so Sunday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center from 10 am to 4 pm. For those who missed the opportunity on Sunday, you can go here to find events in and around the area to get the kit.