As the weather changes, we begin to reorganize our homes and gardens for the new season as our children settle into a new school year. For some of them, it is their first school year.
During this time, we may need some reminders of the needs of our children and the services that are available from our law enforcement agencies.
Some parents may not know that New Jersey is the only state in the country that has legislation providing a “Fingerprint on File” service be available to our children and their parents.
This service is part of the “Play It Safe” program which began in the early 1980’s when the public was traumatized by child abductions.
With statistics revealing that nearly a million children are reported lost or missing each year, the community looked to law enforcement for new ways to protect children. The fingerprinting program was a simply way to identify our young people. Parents receive a card featuring the child’s fingerprints and personal information. In case a child is reported missing, the card provides police with important data.
The fingerprinting is just part of the process. Other children’s safety programs are available to help protect our young people.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of a university professor, developed a book for children to teach them how to properly react in a potentially dangerous situation. The book, “Play It Safe,” was carefully designed to present different scenarios for children to role play as they think out the right course of action. The book is available at no cost in English and Spanish.
Firearms are one of the principle causes of death among American children today. The Sheriff’s Office has developed videos to educate children and teens about the dangers of firearms. These videos, “Get Away Get a Grown-Up” and “Teens and Guns: An American Tragedy,” have been shown in schools all over Union County.
Now we are offering a new video about gun safety called “Silence Kills.” It was made by some very talented students from Hillside High School, the winners of the Union County Gun Awareness Contest.
We also offer, at no charge, locking devices for legally registered firearms to help kept guns properly secured at home.
Please take advantage of these services to help protect our children. Prevention and education are paramount. For information about any of these programs, please call the Union County Sheriff’s Office at 908-527-4450.
Ralph Froehlich, Union County Sheriff