Legislation would improve response time to cases involving abducted children
OKLAHOMA CITY – Senator Roger Thompson today commended the Senate Public Safety Committee for voting to pass Senate Bill 1407, legislation aimed at bolstering efforts to combat child abductions in Oklahoma.
Under Senate Bill 1407, OCARTs will be tasked with formulating comprehensive plans to swiftly and effectively respond to reports of child abductions. The response teams bring together a multi-disciplinary approach involving law enforcement agencies, emergency responders and relevant community stakeholders to ensure a unified response to such distressing incidents.
The bill solidifies in statute the already highly successful Oklahoma Child Abduction Response Teams (OCARTs), which is composed of various law enforcement representatives, to develop and implement coordinated responses to verified child abductions. Since its creation this past year, OCARTs swift and coordinated efforts have been able to intervene and save forty children from trafficking.
"In the face of every parent's worst nightmare, we must act decisively to protect our children and provide swift, coordinated responses to cases of child abduction," Senator Thompson said. "Senate Bill 1407 establishes the framework for Oklahoma Child Abduction Response Teams, empowering law enforcement agencies to collaborate seamlessly and mobilize resources efficiently in the event of a verified child abduction."
Key provisions of Senate Bill 1407 include:
- Establishment of Oklahoma Child Abduction Response Teams (OCARTs): These teams will consist of representatives from law enforcement agencies, emergency responders, and other relevant stakeholders to coordinate responses to verified child abductions;
- Development of Coordinated Response Plans: OCARTs will be responsible for developing comprehensive plans outlining procedures for responding to child abduction incidents, including protocols for communication, search and rescue operations, and victim support services;
- Mandatory Reporting Requirements: Law enforcement agencies will be required to notify the OCART committee within four hours of receiving a report of a verified child abduction, ensuring prompt activation of response protocols and deployment of resources; and
- Training and Resources: Senate Bill 1407 allocates resources for training law enforcement personnel and other stakeholders involved in OCARTs to effectively respond to child abduction incidents and provide support to affected families.
Senator Thompson emphasized the critical importance of proactive measures to safeguard Oklahoma's children from the threat of abduction.
"By establishing Oklahoma Child Abduction Response Teams, we are taking proactive steps to enhance public safety and protect the well-being of our most vulnerable population—our children," he said.
For more information on Senate Bill 1407, click here.