By SCOTT T. STURKOL, Fort McCoy Public AffairsMarch 17, 2014
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- The Fort McCoy Police Department is expanding its child identification (ID) program as part of its Operation Family Safe.
Officers from the police department, which is part of the Directorate of Emergency Services, last used their child identification program kit during the Fort McCoy "Day for Kids" event in South Post in September 2013.
"During that event, we were able to support more than 35 Fort McCoy Families in building identification packages for their children," said police Sgt. Chase Laffea, program coordinator.
"Since then, we've continued to support Fort McCoy Families, but we are also branching out to help our neighboring communities with this program."
Three officers will support a March 18 event at the Tomah Head Start Program, Laffea said. It is another opportunity to bring the child identification program kit into surrounding communities to help Families.
The child ID program kit is used to make ID cards and take fingerprints, photos and video of each child at no cost to the Families.
The information is then saved to a CD only and given to the parents.
According to Laffea, having the CD allows parents the ability to reprint the child ID card and form at home. As an added protection from identity theft, the information is not retained on the computer used to make the IDs and the CDs. Parents are the only people who retain their child's information on the CD they receive for each child.
"We started the operation last summer as a community outreach project," Laffea said. "Operation Family Safe is one example of how we connect with the people whom we serve, and, it improves communication, supports crime prevention and lets people see who we are."
Sgt. Alex Rivera, who helps Laffea with the child ID program, said the products can help parents if they ever need to work with law enforcement.
"With what we provide, you have a readily available set of information that has the height, weight, hair and eye color of your child as well as fingerprints, recent photos and a video that enables voice recognition," Rivera said. All of these things are essential to law enforcement officials in the case of an Amber Alert or investigations for missing and exploited children.
Rivera added the program kit will be used to support other events in the coming months. An event in the local communities will be scheduled the third Tuesday of every month. Additionally, they will be using their kit to help people during the Armed Forces Day Open House on post May 17.
"We'll support as many events as we can," Rivera said. "The people who support this program at the department often rearrange their schedules so they can do the work. That's a testament to how important and how much we believe in this effort."
Laffea said if Families would like to have their children participate in the ID program but do not have a chance to attend an event, they can schedule an appointment with him by calling 608-388-3921.