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Arizona Department of Public Safety’s new program for officers leads to rescue of kids

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Public Safety is calling a new program a success.

Two hundred and seventeen officers from six police agencies including the DPS underwent the two-day “Interdiction for the Protection of Children” program last July. It teaches officers how to identify and rescue missing and exploited children.

DPS Director Frank Milstead says so far, so good.

“Since the training started, we have rescued 11 juveniles who were either missing, runaway, or being exploited,” Milstead said. “Four of them were runaways, five of them were exploited, and the remainder were actually exploited children that we were able to recover with a positive ending.”

DPS assistant director Tim Chung says that all of the kids were found by officers who were on their normal patrols.

“They were initiated by an officer making a traffic stop in the course of his daily activities, and then furthering that based on what the officer has found,” Chung said.

Milstead said Thursday that the DPS is stepping up the program. He says several three person teams of officers will hit the streets in a few months to rescue more kids in trouble.

He said that DPS still needs the eyes and ears of the public to try to rescue kid, and if you think you see a kid in trouble, call the police.