FBI teams up with local law enforcement for child abduction training
Agents from the FBI teamed up with police officers and troopers from around Alaska to conduct an intensive training to respond to a child abduction.
Training scenario: At 7:50 a.m., a 9-year-old girl went missing near DeArmoun Road and Specking Road. Law enforcement officers turned a local church into a command post to begin the investigation.
“These cases are difficult because a lot of times you don’t have witnesses, you don’t have a crime scene,” said FBI supervisory special agent Joshua Wilson. “All you have is that a child is not where they’re supposed to be. So it can be challenging.”
All of the notes and leads were written on a white board for everyone to stay up-to-date. Officers said organizing the information is crucial because every second counts when a child is missing.
Sgt. Kristie Kunder, with the Anchorage Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit, said abductions don’t happen often in Alaska. That’s why training and preparation are so important.
“We want to have had the training, gone through the scenarios a couple times,” said Kunder. “There’s a lot of moving parts and there’s no way to practice for it really. So we want to do the best we can.”
The officers team up to canvass the neighborhoods — looking for suspects, witnesses and evidence.
“As we come into the garage, (we’re) basically looking in any of the cupboards or cabinets a child could fit in to,” Sgt. Joel Smith, with the Wasilla Police Department, explained.
In Alaska, teamwork with other agencies is especially important; the FBI can’t easily send more resources from the Lower 48, so agents have to count on local police and troopers for support.
They said at the end of the day everyone has to same goal of getting the child back to his or her family.
“It’s important as not only a parent but as a police officer we’ve got a lot of kids in every community. Understanding what it must be like for parents to go through this, it’s critically important,” said Smith.
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