January 6 , 2015
COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Powell Police Chief Gary Vest, Auglaize County Sheriff Allen Solomon, and Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Tony Bradshaw have announced a new model for Ohio’s Child Abduction Response Team (CART).
CART can be activated in the event there is a missing child in Ohio who law enforcement leaders determine is in immediate danger. CART was designed to be called out in the event of an Amber Alert in Ohio. There have been 48 Amber Alerts in Ohio the past five years (2009-2013).
CART teams, which usually include law enforcement personnel from different agencies, have existed throughout Ohio since 2006. A CART Steering Committee, with representatives of the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, met for 21 months to determine a new model for CART.
“When a child is likely in danger, can’t be located or is seen being abducted, and immediate action is needed, time is precious. Resources that make up a CART team could make a difference,” said DeWine. “Building upon CART’s past success, we are unveiling a new model for CART across Ohio. We’d like every law enforcement agency to attend an up-coming training explaining the new CART model and name a CART Coordinator.”
The new CART model starts with a CART Coordinator. That Coordinator would compile local resources — investigators, intelligence personnel, search and rescue personnel, water and air assets, search dogs, and victim advocates — that might be needed if an endangered child was missing. The CART Coordinator would assist the Incident Commander, who would be in charge of the search for the missing child and investigation of the criminal case.
A local police chief or sheriff would make the call when CART should be activated, but a general suggested guideline includes a missing, high-risk, endangered and/or abducted child under 18.
CART’s structure the last eight years has revolved around a specific list of individuals performing specific jobs on a particular CART team. As CART team members have retired or moved on to other jobs, some CART teams are no longer in existence. Those CART teams that are still operating are welcome to continue operating under the original model if it’s effective for them.
On behalf of the CART Steering Committee, DeWine sent a letter and packet of information to every law enforcement agency in Ohio, explaining the new CART model and inviting law enforcement agencies to attend one of 10 Attorney General CART trainings in the next few months. The sessions are in St. Clairsville, Portsmouth, Piqua, Mansfield, Bowling Green, West Chester, Warren, Columbus, Athens, and Richfield in January and February.
“Every person who wears a law enforcement uniform cares about our children,” said DeWine. “Planning today for what could happen tomorrow is a great way to protect Ohio’s families.”