July 30, 2012

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Fort Myers Child Abduction Response Team has become the fifth team in the state to obtain national certification. A CART is a multi-agency team designed to immediately mobilize assistance and investigative resources to the lead investigative agency when a child goes missing under suspicious circumstances.  The Fort Myers Child Abduction Response Team is comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement officers from the following 10 counties: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Glades, Hendry, DeSoto, Highlands and Okeechobee.

The team obtained the prestigious certification this month from The United Sates Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, through contractual services with the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The certification process included a mock exercise in which a child was abducted in Sarasota on Feb. 23, 2012.  This exercise tested the Fort Myers Child Abduction Response Team’s communication capabilities, leads tracking systems, command post operations and search and rescue efforts. Some of the resources used and deployed during the exercise included command posts, K-9s, air support and crime scene assets. The successful exercise led to the safe recovery of the victim role player, a 12-year-old girl who was abducted from her bus stop. 

Florida first created Child Abduction Response Teams in 2005 and now has seven teams in place across the state. The CART initiative has become a national training model and is taught to states across the nation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

 Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Keith Kameg or Steve Arthur
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001