The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Combined Communications Center announced a partnership Thursday with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The center is now one of 63 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 911 Call Center Partners nationwide. There are six partner agencies in Florida.
As part of the partnership, call center staff learned to minimize response time and to be consistent when answering emergency calls about child abduction and exploitation.
All 108 Combined Communications Center employees completed a six-hour training course this year to prepare for the partnership.
About 800,000 children are reported missing each year, according to a study published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 2002.
Staff at the Combined Communications Center respond to emergency calls from residents and dispatch emergency professionals. They often provide moral support to Alachua County residents in distress.
“They’re the first on the scene psychologically,” said James Lanier, the Technical Services Division manager for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
The center answered 153,086 emergency calls for Alachua County in 2011.