Children receive identification

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 4, 2003

Little 6-month-old Olyvia Thoen didn't really know what was happening.

But her mother, Angela, took a few minutes out of her Saturday to get something done in case the unimaginable occurs.

The Austin Jaycees sponsored the KidCare ID event at the Oak Park Mall, in which youngsters of all ages could get a close-up photograph taken, some vital statistics written down in a book and a fingerprint.

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Lisa Olsen, the event's project chair, said the booklet is then given to police if a child is reported missing.

"It's a priceless item if something ever happens to a child," she said. "A lot of parents don't have the right pictures. It should be a close-up shot of the head and shoulders."

Also during times of panic and uncertainty, it's easy for parents and relatives to give police information that may not be exactly accurate about the child's height and weight. But having the ID information enables law enforcement authorities to immediately spread the information to other agencies, said K-9 officer Kurt Zehnder with the Austin Police Department.

"We can have this information out statewide in five minutes," he said. "It's a good program."

While Olyvia Thoen got her picture taken in her pink bib overalls, other children talked with police officers and petted their dogs. Five dogs were at the event throughout the day, with some from the Austin Police Department and the Mower County Sheriff's Department. Riverland Community College law enforcement students also helped out at the event.

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at