Missing Child Training for 911 Dispatchers

April 13, 2011 by Julie Montanaro

Tallahassee Police dispatchers become the first in Florida to get a potentially life-saving certification.

They have all been specially trained to handle calls no one wants to get ... calls about missing and abducted children.

The dispatchers in this room handle about half a million calls a year and now every single one of them has been trained by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to glean the most critical information should the phone ring with a panicked parent reporting a missing child.

'They've always been trained professionally in obtaining the information, now they're asking the questions up front first, able to calm the parent down and get the information out locally to more people quickly," said Public Safety Communications Supervisor Jeanine Gauding.

The Tallahassee Police Department is now the first in Florida and just the 19th in the nation to receive the specialized training, all of it offered free, in hopes of maximixing the speed and the chances of recovering missing children.

'Nobody wants to have a child that goes missing, parents ... that's their worst fear ... that's the call that you want to have confidence that your poilce department, your communications call center knows how to handle," said Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones.

Tallahassee's Police Chief also announced today that the agency has received CALEA accreditation for its 25th consecutive year. This year it earned the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement's "flagship" status from for the first time.

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