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To save a child’s life

Jerry Kramer NFL Child ID Awards support safety movement

Child ID
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul is presented with the Jerry Kramer Child ID Award at Lambeau Field in early December. Janelle Fisher photo

By Janelle Fisher/Kris Leonhardt
City Pages/Press Times staff

GREEN BAY – Around the nation, the Jerry Kramer NFL Child ID Awards has helped recognize those who place id kits in the hands of families with children.

Through inkless fingerprint cards, DNA collection, and identification information, the kits can assist in locating lost children when time is of the essence.

No one understands this more than the awards’ namesake, former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman, Jerry Kramer.

“It may not be perfect, but it’s a start. And so far, I think 37 states have joined in with us and I’ve got my son starting to work on Idaho,” said Kramer, who has six kids of his own.

“I just think it’s a chance to save a child’s life. How do you price that? How do you say, you know, it’s too much money? Or, I don’t want to do that?

“I’m hoping that we’ll continue to improve the device as well as recover the children to the point where there’s an automatic response whenever a child necklace or a ring or notebook, whatever the device is, it disappears and we have an immediate police call to find out what is going on and what happened.”

And recently, that has hit pretty close to home for Kramer.

“We have a seven-year-old boy about 30 miles from my house that went missing about a year and three or four months ago. Recently there was a move to dig up the area around his house still looking for him. There hasn’t been a trace, he just disappeared. Now, if we can have a device that warns the authorities when a child is being abducted, we might save a few of them,” he said.

“I’m looking down the road and after we get everybody covered, then maybe we can be a little more effective with our tools and then do a better job.”

In May, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the distribution of 975,000 National Child ID kits in Wisconsin, for students in grades K-12, through a partnership with the Green Bay Packers, Alliant Energy, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Child ID Program.

 “Each year, more than 800,000 children go missing in the United States. Child ID kits allow parents to safeguard their children’s vital information in case of their worst day ever occurring,” a DOJ release stated.

Earlier this month at Lambeau Field, National Child ID Program CEO Kenny Hansmire announced that 95 percent of Wisconsin homes had received the child ID kits.

“To tell you basically how we got here today, the American Football Coach Association started this program in 1997. They handed out ID kits to college fans across the country in an effort to give our fans the gifts of safety that they could take home and fill out an in-home fingerprinting kit in case something happened to their child or the child ran away or was abducted,” Hansmire stated.

“It is now the largest child ID program in the world, we’ve done over 80 million ID kits and Mark Murphy did the program when he was the AD at Northwestern and when he became the president of the Green Bay Packers, it was one of his goals to help lead the effort to get an ID kit into every home to help protect every child kindergarten-12th grade in the great state of Wisconsin.

“It makes Wisconsin the third state in the country to make sure that all your children are protected and it was the largest child safety initiative in Wisconsin history.”

That same day, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul was presented with the Jerry Kramer NFL Child ID award.

“There’s nothing more important than keeping our kids safe, and we work to do that at the Department of Justice in a number of ways, including by investigating internet crimes against children, through our work at the Office of School Safety — which works to provide guidance and best practices — and even a 24/7 tip line for students in our schools so that they can make sure that they’ve got resources available to keep them safe,” Kaul stated.

“This effort is part and parcel of that. As you’ve heard from others, getting this information —  fingerprint information and DNA information — allows law enforcement to respond more efficiently if a tragedy happens and they need to get involved.

“It also allows for the protection of kids’ privacy because these kits are kept at home and are only ever used if they are needed.

“If you are a parent who has one of these kits at home and haven’t figured out yet if you want to get your kid’s information, I encourage you to complete the kit so that in the event that there is a tragedy you’re able to provide assistance to law enforcement as quickly as possible.”

For more information on the program, visit https://childidprogram.com.

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