JONESBORO, Ark. – An event this weekend at The Mall at Turtle Creek is geared toward your child’s fun – and safety.
The Kids & Family Expo – 2017 – will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at The Mall at Turtle Creek on Highland Drive in Jonesboro. Children will be given free child ID’s and have their identifying information recorded by authorities. The hope is that they will never be needed, said E-911 Director Jeff Presley.
Presley is a board member of the Morgan Nick Foundation. Morgan Nick, a 6-year-old child, was abducted on June 9, 1999, in Alma from a little league ball game by an unidentified man. Nick was standing near her mother’s car to empty sand from her shoes. That is the last time anyone has seen her. She has never been found.
“No leads, never found, no remains,” Presley said. “Her mom started the Morgan Nick Foundation and they go around through Arkansas to schools and they educate kids about stranger-danger. This event with the child ID pretty much gives the parents a little safe/security to know they’ve got photos, info, fingerprints and even DNA updated, so if something happens, police will have that information right away.”
The event is organized by East Arkansas Broadcasters and Jonesboro E-911. 107.9 KFIN Morning Host Brandon Baxter confirmed EAB personalities will be at the event to greet the families.
Presley said the event began at the fairgrounds but has moved to the mall, this year’s location. He said responders all come together to create a unique and fun event for the children. He described helicopter flyovers, firetrucks, police cars, animal control with police dogs and many more attractions eager, youthful eyes can enjoy.
In 2016, about 1,500 children were fingerprinted, Presley said.
The event will also help promote “Smart 911.” This system allows individuals to go online to Smart911.com and build a (completely private, unsearchable) profile of personal information, medical history, allergies or vital details. Presley said if you dial 911, this information will immediately appear to a dispatcher. However, addressing privacy concerns, he added the system can not be searched. The information is only available when you call 911. It is for your safety only.
It is paid for by a 65 cent surcharge on Arkansas cell phone bills.
“Let’s say I have allergies to insect stings and I carry medication,” Presley said. “If I’m traveling on I-30 south of Little Rock, I’m stung and my throat swells up so I can’t talk, it will pinpoint on the map where I’m at and then show them my profile and medical information in south Arkansas. It travels with you no matter where you’re at.”
Presley said it is sometimes hard to remember important personal information during an emergency but with this system, a dispatcher can be ready to respond with more knowledge than ever before.
Arkansas is the only state to go statewide and pay for it for everyone, he said, but only about 3 percent of the population is using it. Presley hoped through this event more would see the benefits and sign up.
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