Posted: 17 Aug 2011 04:59 PM PDT
*The following news release was issued California Missing and Abducted Children's Initiative (Cal MACI) on Wednesday, August 17, 2011.*
Merced County is the first county in California to participate in the California Missing and Abducted Children's Initiative (Cal MACI), a project of the California Child Abduction Task Force (CATF). The impact of a child abduction is one of the most devastating events a child, family and community experiences.
The CATF provides multi-disciplinary trainings twice a year on interventions and resources for working with missing and abducted children. The CATF developed the concept of Cal MACI to address the need to help counties develop a specific plan to respond to child abduction with an understanding of their unique strengths and challenges.
Ray Fong of the Livingston Police Department explained, "The team combined goals of all involved agencies in a plan that addressed the concerns and goals of social services, law enforcement and the district attorney.” Merced County agencies presented their plan to agency CEOs for their input and support. Police Chief Richard Hawthorne, of Atwater Police Department commented, “Our most valuable treasure in our communities is our children — Merced Cal MACI will provide the skills and resources to protect these treasures!”
Agency representatives participated in skills-based training, practical and team building exercises, development of a mission statement, and identification of community needs. Atwater Police Department, Livingston Police Department, Los Banos Police Department, Merced County Human Services Agency, Valley Crisis Center, and Merced County District Attorney's Office child abduction and victim witness representatives worked diligently during this first Cal MACI in California.
The mission of the Merced Cal MACI multi-disciplinary team is to coordinate efforts of county-wide agencies to effectively enhance our response to the needs of families and the community, focusing on the location, recovery and reintegration of missing and/or abducted children into a safe environment.
Genevieve Bardini-Davis of Valley Crisis Center said, “The project has a great potential to ensure that victims of domestic violence don’t lose their children as a result of abduction by an abusive parent.”
Expert consultants, Georgia Hilgeman-Hammond and Bill Hammond facilitated this group in working together throughout the week and guided them through this unique process. As CIR, Inc. staff in attendance, Tamara Karakashian, commented, "Amidst tough budget times participants committed a week to learn how to best serve victims of child abductions by creating new relationships and forming a team which will aid their county tremendously." This team will continue to utilize existing resources in a more coordinated effort for a more proactive approach to missing and abducted children's cases. Other identified agencies may join this team as the strategic plan moves forward in Merced County.
CAL MACI is a project of the California Child Abduction Task Force. Logistical support provided by Center for Innovation and Resources, Inc. with funding from the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), with Children's Justice Act funds received from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime.
For information about the Child Abduction Task Force and training information, please visit www.childabductions.org. For more information about the Center for Innovation and Resources, Inc. please visit www.CIRinc.org.
Posted: 17 Aug 2011 02:03 PM PDT
*The following news release was issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, August 17, 2011. The official release may be found here.*
WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today unveiled new Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) "If You See Something, Say Something™" public awareness campaign, aimed at educating the public on the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement authorities.
"Our nation's security is a shared responsibility and every citizen plays a critical role in identifying and reporting suspicious activities and threats," said Secretary Napolitano. "The new 'If You See Something, Say Something™' public service announcements encourage citizens across the county to work together to build a strong foundation for a more secure and resilient homeland."
The new "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign PSAs will be distributed to television and radio stations across the country. The radio and televisions PSAs, available at www.dhs.gov/IfYouSeeSomethingSaySomething, present scenarios involving suspicious activity and educate viewers on how to notify authorities regarding potential threats.
During her remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at an event entitled, "State of Homeland Security Since 9/11: Looking Back, Looking Forward," Secretary Napolitano also announced a new partnership between DHS' "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber will share the PSA with its members and provide supporting campaign materials at its regional offices.
The "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign—originally implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now licensed to DHS for a nationwide campaign—is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to transportation and law enforcement authorities.
Over the past year, DHS has worked with its federal, state, local and private sector partners, as well as the Department of Justice, to expand the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign and the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative—an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism, crime and other threats; standardize how those observations are documented and analyzed; and expand and enhance the sharing of those reports with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS.
Recent partnerships with the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign include the Indianapolis 500, the U.S. Open, the Washington State Ferries, The City of Los Angeles, AEG Worldwide, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), Walmart, Mall of America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Amtrak, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. In addition more than 9,000 federal buildings, the general aviation industry, and state and local fusion centers across the country also participate in the campaign. Secretary Napolitano previously released the "If You See Something, Say Something™" public awareness video, available here.
DHS plans to continue to expand the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign nationally, to help America's business, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.
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