Missing Kids Readiness Partnership
Obion County Emergency Communications District (E-911) has the distinction of becoming the 25th Tennessee partner agency in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Missing Kids Readiness Project program for public safety. Their addition to this elite list makes the local center the 186th agency in the nation that has met the program’s criteria.
In order to become a partner agency, Executive Director Sherri Hanna first applied to NCMEC to attend the CEO course training. “The visit to the NCMEC headquarters was unbelievable,” Hanna said. She recalled that the walls were filled with pictures of missing children, and she said that she stopped when she saw a photo of Marlena Childress there. “They pay so much attention to detail at NCMEC that they make sure that cases that are near to each of us attending the classes are on that wall to remind us that it can happen here.”
The Missing Kids Readiness Project’s founding members collaboratively developed a best-practice standard for telecommunicators when responding to calls regarding missing, abducted and sexually exploited children and model policies for responding to these calls. ANSI recognized this series of best practices as a national standard, and the Obion County 911 Board of Directors formally recognized the ANSI standard for the agency’s use.
The next step was for all Obion County 911 dispatchers to successfully complete the “Telecommunications Best Practices for Missing and Abducted Children” course developed and administered by the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Training Program through Fox River Valley Technical College in an online school term. The session in which the local 911 dispatchers participated ended in the second week of August.
Once the certificates for the dispatchers were received, the application was made. “That was when the wait began,” Hanna said. After no decision had been heard for several weeks, she decided to inquire with the NCMEC staff to see how the application was coming, so she sent an email. “The project review manager called almost immediately told me that our application was on her desk as her email dinged. She said the review board had only one minor question and she was giving us our ‘unofficial approval’. Now we have the official word. I am extremely proud of our team and grateful to our Board of Directors for supporting this endeavor.”