Shelby Co. EMA takes steps to handle missing/exploited children calls


July 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Emergency 9-1-1 calls regarding missing and/or sexually exploited children could be the first step towards saving a child in your community. Mike Jensen, Shelby County Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator says the Shelby County EMA/911 has completed 70 hours of enhanced specialized training and is now better prepared to take those types of calls. Shelby County EMA/911 has recently become a National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)/9-1-1 Call Center Partner. The program acknowledges the Agency’s commitment to making the safety of children a priority.

Every 9-1-1 call involving a missing and/or sexually exploited child must be handled according to best practices. To promote the adoption of these best practices, NCMEC has created the 9-1-1 Call Center Partner Program. The Shelby County EMA/911 has incorporated the best practices in its policies and training material, making a commitment to follow these best practices. Jensen says “We feel that we have always had a good program in place for addressing these types of calls but being able to take advantage of this partnership will further enhance our capability.” He said they owe the accomplishment in large part to the training commitment of their 911 dispatch staff.                       

Every year 800,000 children go missing in the United States. That’s more than 2,000 children per day. Calls about missing and sexually exploited children can become high profile events that have a devastating impact on the victim’s family, your community, and your call center.  Every 9-1-1 call center must have in place policies and training to help ensure every missing and sexually exploited child is given the best chance to be found alive and unharmed. NCMEC is encouraging all Emergency Call Centers to become a NCMEC 9-1-1 Call Center Partner in order to obtain the skills and resources needed to respond to calls pertaining to missing and/or exploited children.