When it comes to finding missing or abducted children, police have had few tools to help identify them with certainty when they are found.
Now the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department has become the first department in the state to buy a device that takes a picture of the iris, the colored part of the eye unique to each individual, and records the information in a national database.
The Sheriff's Department is reaching out to area schools to scan pupils' irises, and SAD 63 is at the top of the list.
At tonight's SAD 63 meeting, Troy Morton, the department's chief deputy, will make a presentation about the Children's Identification and Location Database project.
"Parental permission slips will have to go home, and only the ones that sign off will be allowed in the program," Morton said. "They'll be scanned into the system, [then an] information sheet will be sent home."
Fingerprints of children have been the main identifying tool many agencies use, but fingerprints are often unreliable, Morton said. So the Sheriff's Department, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, bought an iris scanner and its associated software to collect identification information of school children.