FDLE, Miami-Dade Police, Sunrise Police and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to conduct exercise to test South Florida's Child Abduction Response Team (CART) efforts

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Miami-Dade Police, Sunrise Police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office will be participating in a mock child abduction exercise on Thursday, October 30, 2008, to test the region's Child Abduction Response Team (CART) efforts.

The exercise will begin at Tropical Park in Miami-Dade County at 7 a.m. and will conclude with a press conference at the park at 11:15 a.m. The Broward County portion of the CART exercise will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Markham Park.

In Palm Beach County, the exercise will begin at 8 a.m. at Okeeheelee Park and also will end with a press conference at the park at 11:15 a.m. Public information officers will be at each location to assist the media.

Media representatives are invited to cover the events in all three counties and will have some access to the resources being deployed during the mock abduction, including command posts, K-9s, divers, air support, crime scene assets and bloodhounds. Major components of the CART exercise will take place in each county and the media will be able to get footage of or photograph those events as they unfold at different times at each location.

As residents near the three parks may notice an increased law enforcement presence at the county parks on October 30, news organizations are asked to please issue advance notice to the public about the upcoming exercise.

If your news outlet would like to cover the events, please notify FDLE Public Information Officer Paige Patterson-Hughes at (786) 336-1052 by October 29.

Media representatives covering the Miami-Dade County portion of the exercise should report at 7 a.m. to the staging area near the Miami-Dade Police command vehicle at Tropical Park. The staging area parking lot is off of the Bird Road entrance to the park. Patterson-Hughes and Miami-Dade Police Detective Rebeca Perez will be available to assist the media.

In Broward County, media should report to the staging area at Markham Park by 7:30 a.m. Lt. Brian Gerity with the Sunrise Police Department will be on scene to assist the media there. Enter the park from State Road 84 and turn right. Follow the signs to the target range and continue about 1.5 miles. The staging area is near the Sunrise Police command bus.

In Palm Beach County, Teri Barbera with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office will be available to assist the media at Okeeheelee Park. Media should meet at 8 a.m. at the park's staging area, which is on the main road. The staging area is near the sheriff's office command bus.

The purpose of the exercise is to determine the responses of law enforcement and other entities to a mock abduction by testing the activation of CART team members, communication, leads tracking systems, command post operations and search and rescue efforts. Evaluators will determine the responses to these criteria. The exercise is part of FDLE's South Florida CART team's certification efforts.

Afterward, CART participants will be available to speak with reporters during press conferences at 11:15 a.m. at Tropical Park and Okeeheelee Park.

The South Florida Child Abduction Response Team is comprised of members from state, local and federal agencies whose goal is to be prepared to quickly respond when a child is abducted or missing under suspicious circumstances.

For more information, contact:

Detective Rebeca Perez
Miami-Dade Police Public Information Officer
(305) 471-1900

Lt. Brian Gerity
Sunrise Police Department
(954) 746-3600

Teri Barbera
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
Public Information Officer
(561) 688-3082

Paige Patterson-Hughes
Public Information Officer
FDLE - Miami
(954) 958-5400