October 1, 2007

Howard Lake police team up with MetLife to improve kids' safety

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

There were approximately 1,860 ink-covered fingers, including those of Howard Lake Police Chief Dan Lang, at St. James Lutheran School in Howard Lake last Monday.

That’s because a fingerprinting and safety awareness program called Snoopy Safety Awareness visited the school, along with the police chief, and fingerprinted about 185 students.

The Howard Lake Police Department works with area schools to provide fingerprinting and child identification kits, but this time it was asked to assist MetLife, according to Lang.

“It’s very beneficial for law enforcement to have quick access to a missing child’s current physical characteristics,” said Lang. “A frantic parent can grab the packet, and all the information is in one place. It’s a good resource,” Lang said.

MetLife just started offering this program to area schools as of the beginning of this school year. Any area school may request a visit from the program, said MetLife Wright County Agent Melissa Morris.

“It’s all about safety awareness. We provide it as a community service – and it’s a lot of fun, ” Morris said.

The students were first fingerprinted by Chief Lang and MetLife representative Carla Barker. They then were greeted by a Snoopy mascot and given a safety talk by Morris.

Topics of discussion included stranger safety, what to do when lost, what to do around wild animals, and the like. Students also received a handout about boating safety.

The student’s fingerprints were recorded onto a page in a booklet that contains safety information, as well as dedicated pages for emergency and background information about the child that parents can complete and file in a safe place at home.

Any school wishing to host a Snoopy Safety Awareness program can contact Morris at (763) 682-4371

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