A joint effort between Texas Department of Public Safety officers and the DPS Interdiction for the Protection of Children program led to the rescue of 54 missing, exploited or at-risk children in 2015. In addition to the rescues, 33 related criminal investigations were initiated in relation to these efforts, according to a press release issued by DPS Tuesday.
DPS Director Steven McCraw said in the release, “Because children who go missing are more likely to fall victim and be abused by dangerous and opportunistic criminals, DPS created the IPC program for the sole purpose of protecting children.”
“The men and women of DPS are dedicated to rescuing any missing, exploited or at-risk children, and their steadfast and innovative investigative efforts have made Texas a safer place for all kids.”
The IPC program was started in 2009 and designed to train DPS troopers and other law enforcement officers to recognize indicators of children who are endangered who do not otherwise show obvious signs of abuse.
The program offers invaluable and sophisticated training created to assist law enforcement officers in identifying and rescuing missing, exploited or at-risk children and arresting suspects who harm or endanger children, the release states.
More than 80 criminal investigations have been initiated and more than 200 children have been rescued, because of the training, since 2009.
In 2015, 54 children were rescued in Texas and 33 criminal investigations were initiated into various alleged crimes that include 18 cases of sexual assault of a child; nine cases of possession of child pornography; three instances of human trafficking; one case of indecency with a child; and two cases of potential registered sex offender non-compliance.
DPS works with various law enforcement, victim services and Child Protective Services agencies to provide IPC training.
To date, DPS has provided IPC training to its own officers as well as other law enforcement including more than 3,710 officers in Texas and approximately 2,126 officers outside of Texas, nationally and internationally, the release states.
According to the DPS report, this training has also assisted other agencies in implementing similar programs within their own jurisdictions.