LONGVIEW (KYTX) - No parent wants to imagine it could happen -- a lost child or an abduction. However, Tuesday, Longview Police gave parents a chance to prepare for that if the unthinkable happens.
The Longview Police Department held a "Identi-kid" event Tuesday night, allowing parents to come in to obtain information for their children. When a parent came in, his or her children would have their basic information jotted down, height and weight measured, voice recorded, picture and fingerprints taken, and other detailed pieces of information collected. Then, all of the collected information was placed on a CD for the parent and deleted from the computer so it could be safely and securely kept only by the parent.
Paul Wasmer and his wife are foster parents who brought in two young girls to the event. Wasmer said today's event is a precaution and a step Wasmer greatly values.
"It's always good to have extra coverage for your kids," Wasmer said. "It's like insurance. That way, I'd much rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it."
If a child is lost or kidnapped, this one disc of information can help speed up the process of finding that child. Stacey Brownlee is a Longview district attorney who said this single item of information is valuable if the worst comes to worst.
"I think it's really important for parents to have that type of information," Brownlee said. "It's generally not a good situation. You're in panic mode and you don't want to have to be digging through files or taking pictures down off the wall. If you have a disk, you can have it out to the media, you can make copies of it very quickly. This helps law enforcement in a time sensitive situation."
She also said she hopes events like this open up valuable discussion between parents and their kids.
"It gives a lot of people, for the parents to talk to their kids about these situations and the dangers that are out there," Brownlee said. "Parents can also talk to their kids about who they're hanging out with."
Roxanne Stevenson is the executive director of The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center in Longview and it's important for parents to obtain all of this information early on in their children's lives.
"We fully support it of course," Stevenson said. "We thing it's important for parents to use everything in their arsenal to be able to protect their children. It should be something that all parents have readily accessible."
As a parent with foster children who came from a bad situation, Wasmer said he is simply happy they can see police in a different light.
"This is a good way to show her that police are actually our friends," Wasmer said.
If you missed Tuesday's event, Longview Police said there will be more of these next year.