By Jeff Todd
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– As the search for a young girl expanded Thursday night into Friday morning, the rarely used Child Abduction Response Team, or CART, in Jefferson County was called into action.
“Any time you have a child missing it’s a very sensitive situation for everybody involve,” said Al Williams, the CART Volunteer Coordinator. “By bringing some calm to the chaos and handling it with a system rather than rushing into it with emotion we can be a lot more effective and do the best thing we can.”
CART was formed after the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway. The team consists of law enforcement officers and civilian volunteers.
“They provide logistical support, and other support in the command post and help coordinate volunteers,” said Williams about the civilians on the team.
The CART team has only been called into action about six time since its inception. On Friday, the group was getting ready to organize volunteers who were coming to the north Jefferson County area to help search.
“By the time they canceled the search at about 8 o’clock in the morning, we already had about a dozen people at the complex ready to go and we had more people who said they’d be back at 9 o’clock,” Williams said. “Even though this was not an abduction, we always try and treat it that way because the more resources we bring in the better chance we have of resolving it with a safe conclusion.”
Anyone who wants to help search for a child must first pass a background check and get checked in at the command center. This video explains more on who can and can’t help search.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.