Keeping Kids Safe

PARKERSBURG – More than 300 children were photographed and fingerprinted Saturday at City Park as part of the Kids Fingerprint Expo.

Effie Montgomery, organizer of the event, said a number of volunteers and agencies were instrumental in making the event turn smoothly, including assistance from the Wood County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement and tax divisions, the Parkersburg Police Department, the Parkersburg Fire Department, Vienna Police Department and the Parkersburg GFWC Woman’s Club.

Montgomery said when this year’s event was planned she decided they also needed to do something about car seats.

“It’s very important,” she said. “They will inspect them to make sure are correctly installed to prevent an accident.”

Wood County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brett Pickens said the department had two roles in the event.

“We have some people doing the fingerprinting and myself and Lt. Dave Massey are handling child safety which is child seats basically,” he said.

Chief Tax Deputy Bob Tranquill said the fingerprinting was busy throughout the day. The goal was to get as many children photographed and fingerprinted as possible, he said.

“This is the perfect day with other things going on to get as many people as possible,” he said. “We’ve been busy all morning.”

Tranquill said the department tries to schedule as many big events as possible to make sure more children can be identified in the event they are lost or are abducted.

Ronda Sprouse, of Parkersburg, said she had her granddaughter there so they would have the information to help identify her.

“It’s important to have this information in case we lost her or if someone abducted her,” she said. “We’ll have her picture, her fingerprints and her size. It is very important since so many children are reported as missing.”

Crystal Montgomery, of Parkersburg, had the car seat for her son Nathan checked.

“Car sear safety is something I focused on when I worked in child care,” she said. “Things change so frequently I wanted to make sure with my son’s new seat I just got, that I had it all right.

“I didn’t have it exactly and they adjusted a few things for me.”