Child safety event draws in large crowd Saturday
THORNTON, Colo. — Jessica Ridgeway’s abduction and murder has triggered an outpouring of parents doing everything they can to protect their kids.
What brought out about 100 children to Thornton in April, brought at least triple that number to the Lifeprint Next Generation Child Safety Event on Saturday. The event documents children’s vital information—just in case something tragic were to happen.
The long line stretched out the door, through the lobby, and into a hallway from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pro Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership at 1800 W. 104th Ave. in Thornton.
“We’ll wait all day if we have to. That’s how worth it it is,” said Steve Carter, a father who lives in Arvada.
It wasn’t the latest set of wheels that drove people to the dealership Saturday–it’s 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
“I think it’s really sad they do this every year. It just happens to coincide with the tragedy of this week,” said Jill Morian who is a mother of three.
“I want to protect my daughter and nieces from the same thing that happened to that little girl,” said Ronald Berns.
Children smiled for pictures and had their fingerprints scanned. Parents were able to take home a CD that included a full-color digital photograph of their child, finger and palm prints, and peace of mind.
“I’d rather know than not know. I don’t want it to take two days to find out information. I think even if it helps with a palm print on a car window to know they’re in the right direction. That’s all that matters,” said Mondragon, who says she has a daughter that looks like Ridgeway, with blonde hair and eyeglasses.
“They walk to the bus stop every morning to go to school. It’s frightening to know someone is out there,” said Jamie Mason, a mother of three.
Jeff Schenden, the dealership’s general manager said, “It is set up so you can have an Amber Alert out in a matter of seconds, as opposed to gathering all of that information. We know that when finding a child, time is the key.”
It’s information for parents who know they can’t keep their children from venturing into the world, but to know they can do something to help police if the worst ever happens.
The dealership will sponsor another free child safety event next year.