DOJ Press Release letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 26, 2006
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Catherine Sanders
Phone: (202) 307-0703
TTY: (202) 514-1888

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HOLDS FIRST TRAINING SESSION ON CHILD ABDUCTION RESPONSE TEAMS

    SAN DIEGO – The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is hosting its first-ever regional training session for Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) to assist local law enforcement agencies in responding to incidents of missing and abducted children. Teams attending the CART training represent San Diego County; Warren County, Ohio; Maryville, Mo.; Montesano, Wash.; Sandusky County, Ohio; and Shakopee, Minn. The regional teams will include law enforcement investigators, forensic experts, AMBER Alert coordinators, state and local officials, search and rescue professionals, crime intelligence analysts, victim service providers and other interagency resources.

    "When a child is abducted, time is of the essence. Trained regional teams will soon be poised to bring additional resources to help recover children safely and return them to their families," said Cybele K. Daley, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. "Today’s training in San Diego will bring a much-needed tool to help law enforcement recover missing and abducted children in this area and beyond.”

    The Office of Justice Programs launched the national CART initiative in November 2005. The model for the program was created in Florida as a result of the abduction of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota, Fla. in February 2004. Members of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) Orlando Regional Operations Center determined a need for their region to have trained experts in the field of child abduction investigation and response who could respond to an abduction immediately, assist the lead local law enforcement agency and bring addition regional resources to the recovery effort. OJP has modified Florida's local CART model and adopted it for use nationwide. To date, OJP has conducted five regional CART training sessions in Florida. CART has been activated 14 times and as a result of those activations, 12 children have been recovered in Florida.

    OJP's nationwide development of the CART program builds upon the remarkable success of AMBER Alert. AMBER Alerts have helped save the lives of 241 children nationwide. Over 85 percent of those recoveries have occurred since October 2002 when President Bush called for a nationally coordinated AMBER Alert program at the first-ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children.

    CART can be used for all missing children cases and can be deployed as part of an AMBER Alert or when a child is abducted or missing, but the abduction/disappearance does not meet the AMBER Alert criteria.

    AMBER Alerts are issued only when a child abduction meets the specific AMBER Alert criteria, when law enforcement has enough descriptive information about the abductor or the abductor's vehicle to alert the public. CART can also be used to recover runaway children if they are under 18 and are in danger.

    OJP will hold training in nine additional regions across the country this year. Upcoming CART training will take place February 27-March 3, 2006 in Louisville, Ky; March 19-24, 2006 in Seattle; April 23-28 in Chicago; May 7-12 in Columbus, Ohio; June 4-9 in Denver, Colo.; July 23-28 in Greenville, S.C.; August 13-18 in Kansas City, Mo.; September 10-15 in Dallas, and October 23-27 location to be determined.

    On January 13, 2006, DOJ marked the tenth anniversary of the AMBER Alert and honored the memory of Amber Hagerman who was abducted on that day in 1996. In May 2005, OJP joined the wireless industry and other government officials to announce that wireless users can opt to receive geographically specified messages on their wireless devices through an AMBER Alert wireless messaging system. In February 2005, OJP announced that with the addition of Hawaii, all 50 states now have statewide AMBER Alert plans.

    The PROTECT Act, which President Bush signed into law in April 2003, statutorily established the National AMBER Coordinator and required the coordinator to facilitate AMBER network development, support development of state AMBER plans, help eliminate geographic gaps in AMBER networks, provide regional coordination, and establish guidance on criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert. More information can be found at www.amberalert.gov.

    The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and an office: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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