PCSO dispatcher Annette Apodaca pictured taking a 911 call.
FLORENCE, Ariz. – The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Communications Division was recently certified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a member of the NCMEC network.
The PCSO Public Safety Communications Division is the second law enforcement agency, and the first Sheriff's Office in the State of Arizona to be a certified NCMEC 9-1-1 center partner.
The certification demonstrates PCSO’s continued commitment to ensure emergency calls involving missing or abducted children are given utmost priority by ensuring policies are in place for quick response.
Rachel Johnston, program manager for NCMEC stated, “Congratulations Pinal County Sheriff's Office! You have proven your commitment to protecting children by successfully completing all of the necessary requirements to become a NCMEC 9-1-1 Call Center Partner. Every year 800,000 children go missing in the United States. That’s more than 2,000 children per day. 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. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office has demonstrated exceptional proficiency; we are pleased to have them join the NCMEC team.
PCSO dispatcher Christina Martinez pictured as she assigns an emergency call to a deputy.
Additionally, in November PCSO agreed to provide a pool of specialized investigators and Public Safety Communications Officials which are available to focus dedicated and intensive investigative, preventative, and general law enforcement efforts primarily with regard to cases involving abducted children as part of the Arizona Child Abduction Response Team (AZCART).
PCSO joins the cities of Phoenix, Chandler, Apache Junction, Mesa, Scottsdale, Maricopa and the towns of Paradise Valley and Gilbert as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations as part of AZCART.
The AZCART program, along with NCMEC work in conjunction with the national Amber Alert system.
Jennifer Foster, PCSO Director of Public Safety Communications stated, "Often in law enforcement we find ourselves reacting to events that occur around us. This certification is an entirely proactive preparedness. If a child is missing, abducted, or otherwise compromised in Pinal County, the Sheriff's Office Public Safety Communications Division has been well-trained to deploy our knowledge and training in assistance for not only our deputies, but concerned families and media partners. Over the next few months we will host our law enforcement partners in the state of Arizona to share our experience in NCMEC certification, internal policies, procedures and training. We feel fortunate and blessed to offer this to our Pinal County families."