AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced today that DPS Troopers – with the support of the DPS Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program, the Texas Rangers and DPS Special Agents – rescued 76 missing, exploited or at-risk children and initiated 42 related criminal investigations in 2016.
“Children who go missing, who are abused or at-risk of being abused don’t always make an outcry for help when they encounter an officer,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “For this reason, the department’s IPC program is an indispensable tool; it has helped law enforcement across Texas, the nation and internationally to protect vulnerable victims, and ensure the criminals who target children face the full force of the law.”
The IPC program was implemented in 2009 to teach law enforcement officers how to recognize indicators of endangered children who do not actively seek out help or exhibit obvious signs of abuse. As a result of receiving this specialized and targeted training, law enforcement officers can more readily identify and rescue children and arrest suspects.
As part of the 2016 totals, 19 children were rescued and 11 DPS IPC investigations were initiated inDecember alone. Additionally, DPS Victim Services counselors also provided emotional support and referrals to other resources to 181 of the rescued children and family members last year.
The 42 criminal investigations initiated in 2016 focused on various alleged crimes, including:
20 cases of sexual assault of a child; 10 cases of possession of child pornography; Two cases of human trafficking; Two cases of indecency with a child; and Three cases of potential registered sex offender non-compliance. Since the program’s inception, DPS has initiated more than 100 criminal investigations, and rescued more than 250 children as a result of this training. DPS partners 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 more than 6,500 other law enforcement and child protective service professionals in Texas, across the country and internationally. This training has also assisted other agencies in implementing similar programs within their own jurisdictions.