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November 16, 2010

PRIMA Partners with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to Endorse 911 Program

By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor

Few crimes and events are more horrifying and sickening than child abductions and/or sexual exploitation: just ask any parent or family member that has had this happen or almost occur to their loved ones or to neighbors who witnessed these terrible acts.

The first few minutes after a child is abducted are critical in their safe rescue. And with the widespread ownership of wireless devices, authorities can be notified immediately: sometimes accompanied by images of the crimes, the victims, alleged perpetrators and vehicles used.

To enable these crimes/events to be reported accurately and to be acted on rapidly and successfully requires that the 911 contact centers and their staff be trained on them: with best practices and policies in place.

To promote the adoption of these best practices, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has created the 911 Call Center Partner Program. And it has signed up the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA), which has agreed to endorse it. To promote the adoption of these best practices throughout the U.S., PRIMA also has agreed to endorse the ANSI standard 1.101.2-2010 Standard for Public-Safety Telecommunicators when Responding to Calls of Missing, Abducted, and Sexually Exploited Children (ANS (News - Alert) 1.101.2-2010).

As part of this partnership, PRIMA said it will work to educate its members on becoming a NCMEC 911 Call Center Partner in order to obtain the skills and resources needed to respond to calls about missing and/or exploited children.

The NCMEC partnership program requires the following training and processes:

  • Completion of the NCMEC training for call center manager or director on either the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Training Seminar or Time to Act:  The 911 Center and Missing Kids Course;
  • Completion by call center trainers of NCMEC Train-the-Trainer Seminar: “Call Center Best Practices in Handling Calls of Missing and Exploited Children”;
  • Formal training of all current 911 telecommunicators (agents) in best practices in the handling of calls for missing and/or sexually exploited children, as outlined in the ANSI-approved standard to satisfy this requirement. All agents should either be trained by those who took the NCMEC Train-the-Trainer course or by completing the “Public Safety Telecommunications Best Practices in Responding to Incidents of Missing, Abducted and Sexually Exploited Children and AMBER Alerts”;
  • Implementation of a formal, measurable, quality-assurance process for all calls involving missing and sexually exploited children.

Representatives from NCMEC will participate in PRIMA’s Annual Conference in Portland, Ore., in June 2011, as part of this initiative.

“By endorsing this program, PRIMA is recognizing the link between the success of a program to increase child safety and a reduction in risk to public entities that operate 911 centers,” said Lisa Lopinsky, PRIMA executive director. “A partnership with NCMEC was an obvious choice because many of our members operate 911 centers.”

She noted that the extensive work NCMEC has done to establish this standard will benefit those entities and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome when a child is in danger. “Our goal is to help NCMEC garner more participation in this important program,” Lopinsky said.

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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