C.A.R.T Training Will Help Find Abducted Children More Efficiently

More than 60 law enforcement officers and community organizations participated

FARGO, N.D. — If a child is ever abducted, law enforcement wants to find them in the most efficient way possible.

An annual Child Abduction Response Team exercise is preparing police officers for such a situation.

It’s rare to see a child abducted in the metro but Fargo Police say it’s still a situation they want and need to be prepared for when time is everything.

“After the first two hours, the chance that the child will be harmed or not recovered in a quick manner goes down astronomically so the first two hours are the most important to get out, do everything we can to find the child and recover them for the child’s safety and success,” said Lt. Shannon Ruziska, with the Fargo Police Department.

To make sure they can do just that, they put on a simulation for about 60 officers from around the metro and community organizations, such as the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and Social Services. Each year a different agency puts on the simulation.

This year, Fargo Police was in charge of creating a situation where two kids were kidnapped but one was able to escape and call 911.

“We had several items of evidence around the city with tips leading to those and multiple, other tips which items which didn’t lead us towards anything. It’s the officers’ job to organize, get all the information which comes all at once, because it comes in a very big pile of information,” Ruziska said.

The exercise was completed in about four hours, which officers say is not easy when there are so many people trying to work on one case.

“To work together is a pretty big feat if you’ve tried to do that. It can be a very large logistic problem and an organizational problem for us. Every time we do it, we learn more and more about all the needs of the organizations to try to work best as a team,” Ruziska said.

Lt. Ruziska says the most recent example of their teamwork was in the disappearance of 22–year–old Savanna Greywind.

“We’re very prepared. We’ve had actual, real instances like the Greywind instance where they get called out and they organize, they called it in very quickly and their response is excellent. But we want to make sure we keep it that way and maintain those skill sets,” Ruziska said.

In the simulation, officers used a negotiator. Lt. Ruziska says that’s very common in this kind of a situation.

“We’re not going to send a SWAT team in if we can talk the person into surrendering peacefully because a child’s life is important and their safety is in danger,” Ruziska said.

Community members volunteered to be the witnesses, victims and even the victims’ parents in the simulation.

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