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FHP Receives Award at Missing Children’s Day Event

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Lt. Governor Kottkamp, Sgt. Gaskins, FDLE Assistant Commissioner Zadra
L to R: Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Sgt. James Gaskins,
FDLE Assistant Commissioner Mark Zadra

Recently, FHP attended Florida Missing Children’s Day at the Capitol, an event that is held on the second Monday of September each year. Governor Charlie Crist said, "We join together to remember Florida's missing children and recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to keep our children safe. Our children are our most precious resource, and we must work together each and every day to protect them."

Last year, 51,212 children were reported missing to law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. “Florida Missing Children's Day is a day to honor and remember the children who have gone missing, and those who may never come home again," said Commissioner Gerald Bailey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "When a child is reported missing, every second counts. It is vital that law enforcement, the public, and the media work together to help in a safe and speedy recovery."

The Florida Missing Children's Day ceremony offers an opportunity for children, parents, educators and public officials to remember Florida's past and present missing children and to discuss Florida’s ongoing efforts to protect children. Hundreds of children from surrounding counties participated in events, including fingerprinting, photographing, and learning about abduction prevention. Representatives from various law enforcement agencies, victim assistance groups, and children's non-profit organizations also attended the event. Several deserving citizens, canine training teams, and law enforcement officers received awards for exemplary efforts in missing children investigations. At this year’s event, FHP’s Sergeant James S. Gaskins was named 2007 State Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his efforts in child protection.

"We hope and pray that Florida’s missing children will be found safe and returned home to the families who love them,” said Lt. Governor Kottkamp. “We each have an important role to play in keeping our children safe."

To aid in the search for missing children, our state uses Amber Alerts. Last year, Amber Alerts aided in the rescue of seven children. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement encourages all Floridians to sign up on the e-mail advisory system specifically dedicated to quickly provide information on missing and abducted children. Citizens and businesses can sign up to receive Missing Child Alerts and Amber Alerts via personal computer, cell phone and/or text message by visiting www.missingchildrenalert.com.

For more information, call FDLE Missing Children Information Clearinghouse at1-888-FLMISSING (1-888-356-4774).

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