Deputies Work To Reunite Lost Children With Parents At Tulsa State Fair

Sunday, September 29th 2013, 10:02 pm
By: News On 6

More than a million people are expected to attend the Tulsa State Fair this year.

While navigating the maze of booths and rides can be unnerving for anyone, and it can be terrifying for a lost child. Many of the rides at the Tulsa State Fair make their money scaring people, but a missing child is a scare no parent wants to experience.

The Tulsa Country Sheriff's Office says dozens of children are separated from their guardians every year.

"The first thing they do when they come in the gate is they ask were our booth is," Sgt. Stacie Holloway said.

TCSO has set up its children's registration table inside the River Spirit Expo.

If you enter next to the Golden Driller, it's a few aisles down on your left on the west side.

"With so many people out here, sometimes the cell phone towers get jammed, or kids don't hear their cell phone because they are on rides," Holloway said.

Holloway has helped pass out free bracelets to more than 600 children so far, and they are labeled with parents' names and phone numbers.

It's something the sheriff's office has been doing for years and has never lost its importance.

"It's absolutely terrifying," Rachael Bryden said. "My girls will see something and they'll get excited, and they'll run to get it. And next thing you know, they're gone."

Bryden has two girls ages 3 and 4.

"Getting them to hold on to a hand or hold on to you, is not always easy to do," Bryden said.

TCSO says so far this year, 30 kids have been separated from their guardians and 25 of those were on Saturday night alone.

"If I would have known before, I probably wouldn't have come tonight honestly," Chris Stephens said. "It's really hard to keep an eye when they're that short."

Stephens feels that way because he's watching after five little ones.

"They're excited because they get a free band, I'm excite because my information is with them," he said.

In case of an emergency, more than 75 deputies are given the child's name and description.

They say they won't leave until the child is found, but normally, children are reunited with their guardians in less than half an hour.

" It makes is so much easier for them and the parents if that number and name is on that wrist," Holloway said.

The sheriff's office says it also has procedures in place if it gets a report that a child has been snatched.

In a matter a minutes, it can close every exit until the child is located.