Parents will have an opportunity to get a lifetime record of their child’s digital fingerprints and a form that is ready to hand to law enforcement in the event of an emergency at Operation Kidsafe Child Safety Event in Orange. The event is free for every family and will take place at Cecil Atkission Toyota on Friday, Oct. 26, from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No special information is required.
“This is our 11th year serving communities all over North America,” said Mark Bott, national program director of Operation Kidsafe.
Operation Kidsafe uses an all-digital machine with infrared technology and does not use ink or film. The Secret Service and FBI utilize the same machine, Bott said.
“I have two rules,” he said. “Rule one is we will never database or take any information on children because privacy is very important to me. Parents will be the stewards of the document that we are going to give them. So that privacy is maintained, every one of our systems has a button that when the operator presses next to go to the next child, (the machine) erases the last record. The parents take home the only record, and we keep nothing.”
“Rule No. 2 is I will never charge a family for this service.”
Bott said Operation Kidsafe is a collaboration between businesses who pay for the event, Operation Kidsafe and the public to network with each other.
“I found out when I was doing town meet
ings that the bad guys, or the 1 percent, were out networking the 99 percent,” he said. “Parents weren’t talking about safety because parents feared that their kids were afraid. I was one of (those parents). When I started as a child advocate, I had seven kids and n
o family action plan. We talked about the hockey game, we tal
ked about soccer, we talked about the girls’ dance lessons, but we didn’t talk about safety.”
The goal of Operation Kidsafe, according to Bott, is to give the parents a form he said he hopes they will never have to use.
“The form will have digital prints on it, a photograph, an area where parents can update it with a color photograph every time they get one from school, and it’s going to have some safety tips on the back, so (parents) can start a family action plan,” he said.
Another important factor, according to Bott, is that parents don’t have to take a test drive or worry about the sponsors of the event trying to sell them things.
“One of our rules is that we only work with sponsors who get (the program),” he said. “Cecil Atkission is a dealer that’s been around for a long time in Texas, and they understand that giving back to the community is a positive thing.”
Cecil Atkission is at 2500 Interstate 10 in Orange. According to Bott, in its 10 years history, Operation Kidsafe has safeguarded over 1 million children at the rate of 100,000 per year. For more information about Operation Kidsafe, visit www.kidsafeprints.com .