By Bill Glauber
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE — It's not every day that balloons float from police barricades and the song "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" thumps over a sound system at the District 7 police station on Milwaukee's northwest side.
But Saturday, officers staged their annual open house for the local community, and hundreds of people showed up to browse tactical equipment, pick up school supplies and -- believe it or not -- get fingerprinted.
As part of an Operation Safe Kids campaign, toddlers to teens were fingerprinted and photographed on a system borrowed from the U.S. Secret Service. The police didn't keep the records. The vital information went straight to the parents and can be used in case a child goes missing.
"This is an opportunity to relate to the people who protect and serve us," said Gregory Toliver, a teacher, who brought his son and two daughters to the event. "It's nice to see the police reach out to the community."
"This is wild," said Mary Roland, who brought her two children to be fingerprinted. "I did not think I'd ever be in this police station."
Pat May brought her daughter and niece to the event and even managed to sneak in a dance with an officer dressed up as the mascot McGruff the Crime Dog.
"This is very encouraging for the kids," May said. "It's interesting to see so much armor, so much tactical protection."
Pencils, pens, scissors, glue and notebooks were distributed by the local branch of M&I Bank. Representatives of the Keenan Health Center directed parents to a nearby clinic where their children were immunized.
And out back, hot dogs and hamburgers were being served up by residents of the Felmers O. Chaney Correctional Center. The men were on work release.
LaMond Ward cooked the hot dogs. And he also spent most of the previous evening baking 500 chocolate chip cookies.
The cookies arrived warm. And they were quickly gobbled up.
Copyright 2007 The Milwaukee Sentinel
Milwaukee police host kids' open house