Operation Lost Kids reunites families separated at parades - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Operation Lost Kids reunites families separated at parades

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - John Cofhlin knows it can happen so quickly.

"Had my back turned, she was playing with a bunch of little kids and her mother had her back turned," he says. "I turned around and said, "Where's Jasmine?" and I looked and I see her about a half a block down running by the floats."

In a sea of parade-goers, children sometimes get separated from their parents.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office is ready to quickly reunite families along the Uptown parade route.

"This is Operation Lost Kids," says Sheriff Marlin Gusman. "The lost kids, if there are any, can come here to a central spot. Their parents can come here and they'll know that this is a safe haven for them."

Their makeshift headquarters is at Louisiana and St. Charles, a popular spot for families along the route.

Here, scared children will find the comforting arms of volunteer deputies, ready with a hug and soothing words.

Volunteer Louis Reese has been helping relocate lost kids or their lost parents for more than 20 years.

Reese says the children can watch the parade with volunteer deputies until their parents are found.

Deputies and police along the route know to check here first if a child is reported lost.

Operation Lost Kids will be running through Fat Tuesday, and with so many people out enjoying the parades, volunteers expect to be busy.

John Cofhlin appreciates the service but hopes he won't have to use it.

"We try and point out the police and everything and say, look if you get lost from mommy and daddy, go find a policeman, tell them your name," he says. "They know our phone numbers, they're old enough now that they know our phone numbers, but if you get lost, find a policeman, tell them your name and give them mommy or daddy's phone number and they'll call us. They're the good guys, not the bad guys."

Good advice for all families headed to the parades.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved

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