COLUMN: Keep your children safe this fall

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By Sen. Jimmy Higdon

As we move into fall and our schedules become full with our kids’ homework and after-school activities, it’s always a good time to focus on their safety, too.  Much like the calls and e-mails I receive from constituents in need of the Veteran’s Crisis Hotline, I also receive a number of calls and emails from constituents looking for information on the Amber Alert program, as well as the best way to get information on sexual predators in the community.
First off, the Kentucky State Policy website has safety tips to help parents and caretakers keep children safe at www.kentuckystatepolice.org.  It’s worth reviewing the “missing children” tab to get tips on what to teach your child, from their name and address for children beginning at 2 years old to a secret family password, so kids can recognize someone you’ve authorized to pick them up.  Additionally, there are tips for parents like taking your child’s picture every year and writing a detailed description of any birthmarks, scars, moles, and physical characteristics.  Also, the KSP suggests parents arrange with their local police department to have their child fingerprinted – they will give you the card and will not keep a record of your child’s prints.
It’s frightening and heart wrenching when loved ones find that a child is missing, but every minute matters.  Always reach out to your local law enforcement, call 911 or call the Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555 (keep in mind, this number is for in-state only and does not work out of state). From there, first responders will determine the best tools to use, including the highly effective Amber or Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) depending on the criteria of the case.
In addition to safety tips for keeping children safe, the Kentucky State Police also provide information on sex offender registration information. Remember, the site is intended to promote public safety and awareness by alerting communities of potential danger. You may get more information by calling 502-227-8700 or by going to http://kspsor.state.ky.us