On January 22 nd, through the 26 th, 2007, a team of Massachusetts State Police personnel and local police officers attended CART (Child Abduction Response Team) training in San Diego, CA. This program was specifically designed for a team of law enforcement professionals to obtain training in responding to a missing, endangered and /or abducted child incident. Our team included ten members from various law enforcement disciplines, specifically: the AMBER Alert Coordinator, state and local criminal investigators, crime scene services, search and rescue professionals, media relations and communications specialists.
This program provided us with the tools to develop a coordinated pre-planned response for recovering missing, endangered and/or abducted children. A single local law enforcement agency will likely not have the resources needed to successfully recover the child, to investigate any criminal wrong doing, and to provide family services. CART provides: pre-identified multi-agency resources; an operational plan; and a well equipped, trained and exercised team.
Many jurisdictions are currently developing CART teams. Participants at the training we attended in San Diego included teams from: Los Angeles, San Diego, Polk County, GA; Lake County, IL, and Fond Du Lac, WI. States that already have active CART teams include Florida, California, Ohio, and New Mexico. Utah established a CART team program in January of this year. Mr. Ed Smart a Utah man, whose daughter was abducted in 2002, praised the establishment of CART in Utah saying: "It's your local SWAT team with regards to abductions."
The U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has recognized that Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) that quickly respond to incidents of missing and abducted children are effective in recovering such children. The Massachusetts CART program will provide the citizens of the Commonwealth with a formalized, rapid response team that will mobilize when a child is reported missing. The members of the Massachusetts team who went to San Diego have all expressed interest in working to bring CART to Massachusetts. With the commitment of dedicated law enforcement personnel combined, with the training and resources available through the DOJ and other agencies, CART can become an essential tool in promoting the safety of the children of the Commonwealth.