PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney School Resource Officer Pat Renwick offered child safety kits Tuesday evening during the district’s “Reading Under the Lights” event, which was a first for him but something he said is beneficial to the whole community.
When planning for Reading Under the Lights, the school approached Renwick about the possibility of offering the child safety kits through the police department. Renwick talked it over with police Chief Matt Conrad, and was directed that it was OK, but the school would have to provide the kits.
Renwick and Conrad found appropriate safety kits online, and forwarded them to the school to purchase for the event.
The kits include a fingerprinting kit, a form to include a description of the child, a DNA swab kit, and a baggie for including a piece of your child’s hair. It is also recommended to include an up-to-date photo. Renwick was assisting children with the fingerprint aspect of the kits.
“Officer Renwick offered, he is just volunteering his time here for us, and he’s doing the child safety kits,” said Abby Steffey, the Title I department chair during the event.
This is the first time Renwick has ever done something like this, but said “the sky is the limit with this.” The department never thought of doing something like this before the school approached them.
“There’s a baggie inside the kit that you can put a hair sample in, there’s DNA swabs in there that they’ll seal, then they’ll just keep that at their home. It’s a very nice kit.,” Renwick said. “God forbid something would happen.”
If a child would ever go missing, parents can bring this kit to the police, and it will immediately have the information the police would need.
“If your kid were to get lost or abducted or something, then that info helps them (police),” Steffey said. “That’s just for the parents to have on file, it doesn’t go anywhere, but if they were to need it they would have that info.”
Being the SRO, many of the students were already familiar with Renwick which made the process easier. Many children were telling their parents they give officer Renwick high-fives in the morning, as he is often out patrolling during drop-off time at the elementary school.
“The ones I didn’t have time to do tonight, we’re just going to do at the school,” Renwick said. “They’re going to give me a box that I can keep in my office. A lot of the parents already took them, so they’ll just bring them down to my office.”
He will also be offering the same kits to the older children during the fourth-through-sixth grade paint and pizza event planned for November.