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Officials urge child safety

Posted: October 30, 2009 9:53 p.m.
Updated: October 31, 2009 7:00 a.m.

Chris Ward, left, representative for Assemblyman Cameron Smyth's office, helps Jason Knybel and his 3-year-old son Benjamin get fingerprints taken at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Friday. The event provided parents with information on child safety.

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, encouraged parents to fingerprint their children in an effort to protect the kids from child predators as part of a child safety event the California lawmaker hosted Friday.

“We thought Halloween is a perfect time to remind parents about safety,” he said.

As kids don masks and run around neighborhoods asking for candy tonight, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials warned parents to keep a close eye on their kids.

“(Trick-or-treat) in your neighborhood or one that you’re familiar with,” said sheriff’s Lt. Brenda Cambra. “Kids are so excited and they’ll run. (Make) sure that they’re on the sidewalk.”

Cambra also advised parents to make sure all candy is properly wrapped, and not to let young children go trick-or-treating without an adult or responsible teenager.

At Friday’s event, Smyth and members of his staff helped parents fill out a kit designed to help law enforcement find missing kids. The kit, a glossy brochure, instructs parents to fingerprint their kids, tape a hair to the inside of the brochure along with a picture. In the event that the child is missing, the kit can be turned over to police to assist in the search.

Martina Cochran, 42, of Stevenson Ranch had her son Brody Glass, 3, also of Stevenson Ranch, fingerprinted.

“I think it’s a great idea to have. Hopefully we will never have to use it,” she said.

Smyth, who is the father of two children, said this particular issue strikes close to home. Making the kits available in the Santa Clarita Valley is important, he added.

“Santa Clarita is a family-oriented community,” he said. “The safety of our kids is really important.”

The kits are available at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.


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