Officers, School Officials Practice Child Abduction Response

By Jonathan Cooper |

Published 03/18 2014 02:29PM

Updated 03/18 2014 09:54PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Law enforcement and school officials practiced their response to a child abduction on Tuesday as part of a training exercise.

Tuesday's situation was fake, but police officers, school officials, and troopers from the Missouri Highway Patrol treated it as if it were real.

"It's necessary to do these types of drills just so you can fine tune your skills on what it takes to organize this," said Capt. Jeff Wilson with the St. Joseph Police Department.

The exercise was conduction by the regional CART groups, or the Child Abduction Response Team.

"With a missing child, the school district is most likely going to have an involvement with it," said Dr. Jake Long, with the St. Joseph School District. "It's important for us to go through what would we do if an event like this did occur."

The drill started with school officials learning that a student was abducted walking to school.

"The principal becomes the person, the commander basically on site," said Long.

The exercise unfolded in real time, meaning police were called to investigate the incident. That included calling in extra police force and using the Highway Patrol.

"It's good to use a lot of our partners that are experts in different areas," Wilson said.

The exercise provided law enforcement with a suspect and gave them the opportunity to apprehend the man and rescue the child.

Despite the rescue, officers still had to work through some minor confusion.

"We go into these knowing that we're going to identify some things we need to improve," Wilson said.

Police said they took note of things to work on, but are happy with how they responded.

The exercise was brief because of the number of resources they had to use.

Police sent a Nixle alert to warn the public of the exercise ahead of time and let them know it was just a drill.

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