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Tampa's Child Abduction Response Team

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 55 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 134-138
Brent Swager
Date Published
September 2007
5 pages
This article describes the establishment of the Child Abduction Response Team (CART) in Tampa, Florida.
The Child Abduction Response Team’s (CART’s) mission is to bring expert resources to child-abduction cases quickly because these cases are extremely time-sensitive. Compelling statistics supporting CART are that the majority of abductions are short term and involve sexual assault; 44 percent of abducted children who are killed are killed in less than 1 hour of being abducted; 74 percent are killed with 3 hours of being abducted; and 99 percent of those murdered are killed within 7 days of being abducted. CART was designed by two Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agents as a short-term asset (similar to a SWAT team). The first CART was formed by the Orlando, Florida Police Department in 2004. The Orlando CART was used as a model to form Tampa, Florida’s CART. All CART participating agencies sign a Mutual Aid Agreement, which gives CART officers the same powers of arrest and search that they have in their home agency. The majority of CART participants are detectives with experiences in child abduction and sex offenders. Other skills equally important are detectives who are court-certified as experts in interviewing children, as well as experts, in writing search warrants and executing those warrants, computer technology experts, and detectives who speak more than one language. Most recently added to the team are the dog handlers. The team conducts a training session at least once a quarter on topics that span a wide spectrum.