For the 13th consecutive
year, AFSCME-represented Oregon Department of Corrections personnel offered
free fingerprinting of children on Aug. 29 at the Oregon State Fair. The
fingerprinting event takes place at the Oregon AFL-CIO booth, which Council 75
staffs for two days each year. Members of Local 2067 (City of Salem) take over
the booth in their home city the second day each year.
"My Corrections colleagues
look forward to doing this each year as a public service," says longtime
Council 75 member-activist Tina Turner-Morfitt, who coordinates the
fingerprinting portion of the booth. Turner-Morfitt is a member of Local 2376
(Corrections Security Plus) and a counselor at Coffee Creek Correctional
Facility in Wilsonville.
Turner-Morfitt says people
tend to think about the obvious "worst case scenario" for a fingerprint card
— i.e., identifying a dead body — but that's far from the only
"Thousands of children too
young for formal identification disappear from their homes each year in the
U.S.," she says. "Often they are runaways, many are victims of parental custody
battles and some are simply kidnapped. A fingerprint card can be a valuable
tool in those situations.
"Additionally, just doing
this when we do, right before school starts, provides an opportunity for
parents to have important discussions with their child about being safe, not
accepting rides from strangers, maybe having a 'secret word' or whatnot. The
fingerprinting kind of helps open the door for that discussion."
Turner-Morfitt said the
union's Corrections employees fingerprint any child of any age as long as a
parent is on hand to give permission. The completed document includes all 10
digits both separately and jointly, along with instructions on safety and what
to do if your child disappears. She notes that the card emphasizes parents
should keep a current school photograph with the fingerprint ID.
"This is something you hope
you never have to use, but it's important to have the best information possible
pulled together in case you do," said Turner-Morfitt. "It just takes a few
minutes, it certainly doesn't hurt and most of the kids think it's fun. Again,
we are just happy to offer this service to the public each year at the fair.
It's an opportunity for us to get outside the walls of our institutions and
interact with the community."
In addition to
Turner-Morfitt, Corrections members who participated included April Bogue,
Tracie Clausen, Marla Jones, Shannon Mecham, Dave Ramseyer, Theresa Shelley and
Beth Vanderzee. Also pitching in were David Gonzalez and Karla Myers,
Corrections Officers represented by AOCE. Gordon O'Brien of Local 896 (Oregon
State Police Support) is also on hand each year.