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Sheriff's Corner

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By The Staff

We all take pride in our children and consider them our most precious resource. Unfortunately because of their built-in trust of people and vulnerability, children are popular targets for drug dealers, child molesters and many other criminals. Starting at an early age, we must educate our children on personal safety and reinforce their trust in adults who care for them like parents, police and teachers. Encourage your children to confide in you, even when the topic makes them feel uncomfortable.

Some things that your children should learn at a early age is their full name, address, telephone number with area code and how to use 9-1-1 especially at a public pay phone. Stress to them that it is OK to say no to an adult who makes them feel uncomfortable or run away if someone tries to make them do something they don't want to do. Children should stay near their parents in a public place and if they get separated do not go to the parking area, but should go to the nearest check out counter and ask a cashier for assistance. Children should never be allowed to use a public restroom alone.

Now here are some rules for parents. Know where your children are at all times and be familiar with their friends, such as where they live, their phone number and who their parents are. Use caution when selecting a babysitter, preschool or day care center. Check their license, references and have face-to-face meetings with the person watching your child.

I would recommend that children not wear clothing with their name prominently displayed. Children may respond to a stranger because they think the person is known to them. Last but not least, keep an up-to-date identification file on your child. This file should include:

* A recent photograph

* A physical description that includes height, weight, hair color, eye color, distinguishing marks and birth date;

* A set of fingerprints or thumbprints;

* A mental note of what your children were wearing when you last saw them.

With these tips we can help ensure the safety of our children which is our pride and joy.