When Sheriff Robert Garvey of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office in Northampton, Mass., officially launched the Children’s Identification and Location Database (CHILD) Project in 2005, he expressed his hope that over the coming years every sheriff in the nation would have a CHILD Project Iris Recognition System at their disposal. The CHILD Project is a secure, nationwide network and registry enabling law enforcement and social service agencies to positively identify missing children and adults using the iris recognition system from Panasonic System Solutions Company. The system features Panasonic’s BM-ET330 iris recognition reader, which provides accurate, non-invasive authentication and identification. On the one-year anniversary of the launch, more than 1,600 sheriffs in 24 counties in 17 states are either using or have committed to using the technology.

The CHILD Project system uses a specialized Panasonic video camera to capture a detailed close-up of both irises. The system’s biometric software, developed by Iridian Technologies Inc., makes a template or ‘map’ of each person’s iris pattern for storage in the system. To verify identity later, an individual looks at Panasonic’s BM-ET330, and the system compares the patterns in the individual’s irises against the templates stored in the system. If there’s a match, the identity is verified.

The Nation’s Missing Children Organization and National Center for Missing Adults (NMCO), a non-profit agency providing nationwide assistance to law enforcement and families of missing persons, hosts the database at its headquarters in Phoenix.