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PONTIAC - You know the name of the nurse who treats you at the hospital and the cashier at the grocery store just by looking at their ID badge.

The mentality of knowing "everyone" may still linger in communities like Pontiac, but the saying "you can never be too careful" still applies - so all Pontiac employees will be required to wear ID badges and have city-issued photo ID cards as of Wednesday.

"People will know who I am," said Dave Lopeman, director of the city's Building and Zoning Department. "It tells them I am there for official city business. I always explain to people who I am, but now with one look, they will know."

He said wearing the badge will help him as he inspects businesses and homes. He visits about six locations daily.

Mayor Scott McCoy said the badges will add an increased level of security for the city and the public.

"With security and privacy the way it is today, I thought this would be a good idea that has almost no cost associated with it and is easy to implement," McCoy said.

Livingston County Sheriff Bob McCarty has suggested having all county employees wear ID badges, especially those who work in the courthouse and go through security daily.

"In small communities, we tend to think we know everyone and the people we work with," McCarty said. "But, more and more we can't have that kind of mindset - I hate to say that."

McCarty said he wasn't aware of any recent cases of impersonation, but said the trick has been used in the past in other areas.

His suggestion? "Before letting anyone into your home, you should ask for proper identification," he said.

Employees at the county's Public Health Department and Livingston Manor already are required to wear badges and some companies have required employee identification for years.

All employees and volunteers wear badges at OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center. Most IDs display a first name, title and department and work as key-cards to access the employee entrance. The badges do not include pictures.

At Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance Cos., employees are required to wear badges for security when in company buildings.

All Town of Normal employees are given ID cards but are not required to wear badges. Employees of the City of Bloomington don't have badge or cards unless they have to enter homes, such as workers in the Planning and Code Enforcement Department, Fire Department or Police Department.


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