Transcript Staff Writer

University of Oklahoma police Saturday targeted thousands of kids and tagged hundreds of them, and not one parent minded in the least.

OUPD used the Kansas State-Oklahoma football game to start its "Tag-a-Kid" program, in which children are given temporary wristbands that lists their seat location and other contact information. The system makes it easier to return a lost or separated child.

Even folks living in the shadows of the universities of Texas and Arkansas think OU is on to something with this program.

"I think it's a great idea," said Brett Harkey of Fayetteville, Ark., said while getting wristbands for his daughters Maitlyn, 4, and Elspeth, 2. "If the kids get separated, there is this way to connect with them."

"When you get inside the stadium," Austin, Texas, resident Krystal Niyah said moments later, "there are a lot of people pushing and shoving and it becomes easy for people to get separated."

Prior to the game, Det. Scott Gibbons and Officer Debbie Lozano manned the Tag-a-Kid table at FanFest. They jotted down all necessary information and gave the kids white wristbands.

Naomi Niyah, Krystal's 91?2-year-old daughter, was cool with her new safety fashion accessory.

"I like it," she said. "It's not like choking my wrist to death, and it's not itchy, either."

Lozano guessed at least 300 kids were signed up on the program's first day. RUF?NEK little sisters went through the Fan Fest crowd prior to the game to look for families with younger children and direct them toward the Tag-a-Kid table.

Gibbons said the idea came from a recent trip to New York while he and his wife, Christine, also of OUPD, attended a New York Yankees game. The public address announcer often reminded the crowd to use a similar program at the stadium, and Christine Gibbons later told OUPD Chief Liz Woollen about the idea and suggested its use here.

The chief gave it a thumbs-up, and so have participating parents.

"Everything we've heard from everybody has been very positive," Scott Gibbons said.

OUPD plans to keep tagging kids at every home game. Parents and guardians can look for the table during Fan Fest, which takes place before each game just north of the stadium, or can get wristbands from officers at main entry gates.

Also during the game A unidentified man collapsed near the northwest corner of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and never regained consciousness while on the stadium grounds.

He went down around 4:50 p.m., a few yards within Gate 5. Paramedics and other emergency personnel responded and spent the next 25 minutes administering CPR, pounding his chest and using medical equipment, but the man never responded. He was put on a stretcher and moved into an ambulance at 5:15 p.m.

The man was stocky and appeared to be in his 60s, with thin, gray hair. He wore black pants and a crimson shirt. Cameron University and OU police personnel steered people coming through the gate away from the scene.

James S. Tyree 366-3539 jtyree@normantranscript.com

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