PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Attorney General Marty Jackley and Trevor Jones, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, are asking South Dakotans to observe National Missing Children’s Day on Friday, May 25, 2012.
“Dedicating this day to missing children and honoring those who work tirelessly to prevent such tragic events emphasizes that child safety is a top priority in South Dakota,” the Governor said.
Gov. Daugaard has issued an Executive Proclamation designated Friday as National Missing Children’s Day.
“Law enforcement statewide continues to participate in programs centered on to the prevention of child abduction,” said Jackley. “We are committed to continuing cooperative efforts with the public to protect South Dakota children.”
In 2003, South Dakota created a statewide Amber Alert Plan that is used to broadcast critical information about child abductions. The public is encouraged to sign up for free wireless Amber Alerts at https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp.
The South Dakota Child Abduction Team (CART) was created in 2006. CART is a multi-jurisdictional team of South Dakota law enforcement professionals with specialized training that can be called to assist during abducted/missing children investigations. The team is ready to respond when needed.
In 2007, South Dakota added the Endangered Missing Advisory (EMA) to its list of programs. The effort is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement and local broadcasters who notify the public about missing and endangered persons. It is designed for those instances when a missing person does not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert.
The Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General’s Office partnered with the South Dakota Child Identification Program (SD CHIP) in 2011. The program is part of MasoniCHIP, an initiative of the Masons of North American that generates completed packages of various child- identifying items for parents or guardians.
The types of identification collected from children include dental impressions, DNA cheek swabs, digital photos, fingerprints and video- image interviews. All of the identifying materials generated by the program are given to the child’s family to be kept as an identification kit in the event that a child becomes missing. This kit aids law enforcement in the recovery of a missing child. The program is offered to the public at no charge. For additional information about this program visit www.sd-chip.org.
“I can think of few things more heart-breaking that having a child missing,’’ Jones said. “Cooperative efforts to prevent child abduction and to search for missing children should be among our highest priorities as law enforcement agencies.’’
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has dedicated this annual event for missing children since 1983. The organization wants parents to know there are things they can do to keep their children safe, and it urges parents to take a few minutes and review the safety tips which are part of the NCMEC’s Take 25 national safety campaign. The tips can be found at the www.take25.org/page.asp?page=50.