435th SFS help make child ID cards

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Four-year-old Ashlyn Soechting scooted to the edge of her seat and
placed her pinky on the electronic fingerprint machine.

One by one, she placed all ten fingers on the machine.

Across the table, Thilo Loewe, civilian police officer in the 435th Security Forces Squadron, added her prints to an ID card that had Ashlyn’s height, weight, age, hair color and eye color, and then he printed two ID cards for her parents.

Security Forces officers made ID cards Feb. 21 for about 70 children ages 3 to 5 who attend the Child Development Center on Ramstein.

Preschool teacher Rebekah Swank talked with parents about the ID cards, and then invited the security forces officers to the school.

“I see this as something we need,” she said. “Parents are so excited about this – more than 75 percent of the parents returned the permission slips.”
She called it, “Project ID a Kid,” something similar to the “McGruff Safe
Kids Total Identification System” in the states.

“People think the base is safe, but things can happen,” Mrs. Swank said. “It’s a reminder that no matter where you are, be cautious.”

Security forces officers do not keep or store the information about the children, Mr. Loewe said. It is up to the parents to keep the cards handy in case of an emergency, he said.

Each child is issued two cards. Parents can keep both or put one card in the jacket pocket of their child. It is good idea for children who are especially non-verbal to carry the card, should they find themsleves lost in the base exchange or some other place, Mr. Loewe said.

“They can give the card to any U.S. police or Security Forces officer,” he said. “With all of this information, it’s easier for police to identify a kid who goes missing.”

Parents wishing to obtain a child ID card with their child’s photo and fingerprints can call Security Forces at 480-2031 to make an appointment.
Mr. Loewe said parents should update a child’s ID card once a year.