The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, will conduct a mock Child Abduction Response Team (CART)drill, on Tuesday September 18, 2012.
The exercise will be conducted within the City of Marathon and will be limited to that area. The Sheriff’s Office and FDLE have conducted two similar exercises in the past, one in Key Largo and this past year in the Key West and Lower Keys area.
The purpose of the drill is the same as if a hospital, or airport would conduct a disaster drill. It helps to identify weaknesses and areas the team can improve on, but most importantly demonstrates to the personnel participating, a sense of confidence and knowledge which will make an actual incident run smoother and more efficiently.
CART teams have been set up across the country in an effort to quickly and effectively respond to child abductions. Monroe County’s CART team underwent initial training in the spring of 2007 and have been undergoing continuing training since then.
“We hope the need will never come, but should such a nightmare arise, we want to have a team that is prepared to work quickly,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “By practicing our response ahead of time, and knowing what needs to be done, we stand a much better chance of bringing an abducted child home safely,” he said.
According to statistics by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 91% of abducted children are killed within 24 hours of being taken. That is why the first hours of a child abduction are crucial, and it is extremely important for law enforcement to respond quickly, and to bring all their resources to bear as soon as possible after the abduction occurs. By practicing the response to a child abduction, all the agencies involved make sure they know one another, and make sure they know what is expected from them in a real event.
Agencies which participate in the Monroe County CART team include:
· Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
· Florida Department of Law Enforcement
· Federal Bureau of Investigation
· Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
· Florida Department of Children and Families
· Florida Department of Corrections
· Florida Keys Children’s Shelter
· High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group
· Islamorada Fire Rescue
· Immigration and Customs Enforcement
· Key Largo Fire Rescue
· Marathon Fire Rescue
· Monroe County Fire Rescue
· Islamorada Fire Rescue
· Islamorada K-9 Search and Rescue Team
· Monroe County State Attorney’s Office
· Key West Police Department
· United States Coast Guard Auxiliary