Mock Abduction Staged (Complete with “Mock Helicopter”)

Readers,  I’m sure that plenty of people think that it is a GREAT idea to stage the mock abduction of a child and then get all the local crime fighters involved.

But not me. Staging an event like this makes it seem as if stranger abductions are common, or at least on the increase.  In fact, they are the rarest of crimes. And, according to Kenneth dfarkfbkiy
V. Lanning,
a 30-year vet of the FBI, who consults on crimes against children:

“I am aware of no research that indicates that children today are any more likely to be abducted by sexual predators than they were 50 years ago.”

A mock abduction not only mis-allocates resources that could be better spent deterring far more common crimes (like running stop signs). It also makes it feel as though kids who walk or play outside on their own are far more vulnerable than they really are. As a result, parents keep their kids supervised, and cops (thinking the kids are in danger) are more apt to harass the parents who don’t. Instead of making anybody safer, all this does is increase the climate of fear, which leads to increased isolation, which leads to increased fear, which leads to increased police intervention, which leads… well, I think you get the idea. In order to share my dismay, I give you this AP story (and let’s not even worry about its grammar).


Published: Nov 5, 2013

By: Emily Johnson November 5, 2013

Wakulla County, FL – The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office hosted a regional Child Abduction Response Team (CART) exercises Monday and Tuesday where a mock child abduction scenario was created.

16 CART agencies from the region set up command posts at the Wakulla Community Center. Tuesday’s simulation was all to find the nine-your-old who had been abducted and for the different agencies represented to work together. “Those teams are a joint effort of investigators, search personnel capabilities and assets from the surrounding counties,” said Don Ladner, Special Agent In Charge for Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The mock abduction was also to development the communication between the agencies so for when the emergencies does arise law enforcement will be ready.  “A child could go missing anywhere. It brings them all together, lets them work with each other and get to know the other CART team members,” said Wakulla County Sheriff.Charlie Creel.

As the information was gathered throughout the day a mock vehicle was spotted and multiple agency response crews including the K-9 tracking units and a mock helicopter flew overhead….

My biggest question is not: Who decided this was necessary? It’s WHAT IS A MOCK HELICOPTER? Is it cardboard? A hologram? Or a helicopter spewing vicious taunts? “Call that a response team? My tail rotor’s got more brains than all of you AND your dog team!” Oh, and by the way:

The 13 county North Florida CART region has not experienced a child abduction, but the exercise gave the agencies an opportunity to practice coordination efforts in the event of a real abduction.

Ah me… L.

"You candy-asses couldn't find an abducted whale with diaper rash!"

“You candy-asses couldn’t find an abducted WHALE in polka-dot pajamas!”

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49 Responses to Mock Abduction Staged (Complete with “Mock Helicopter”)

  1. baby-paramedic November 11, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    I’m still going to argue that the scenarios play a valuable role in ironing out communication difficulties between the services. I am quite jealous of a few areas doing exercises against zombies (and let’s face it, that isn’t exactly likely!).

    The scenarios tend not to be to practice the likely. We already have that fairly downpat. Throw us a complete curveball that we haven’t experienced, and you will see us attempt to adapt and overcome, which is a very important part of running scenarios, as unfortunately life forgets to read the textbook.

  2. SKL November 11, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    There’s been a recent discussion on another site about school lockdowns / lockdown drills and how appropriate it is to tell kids that their making a noise could get them shot. Apparently teachers have said this to kids in both real and drill situations. I think it’s unconscionable. But then again, I think the whole idea of lockdown drills is not necessary. On the latter point I seem to be in the minority. Apparently because real lockdowns (usually with no injuries) do occasionally happen, we all *must* practice them.

    Funny, nobody seems to practice car/bus accident protocol, anaphylactic reaction protocol, statutary-rape-at-school protocol – you know, the stuff that really happens around us every day.

    Apparently people think they have more control over completely random, extreme, insane acts than over fairly commonplace events.

    And the other ironic thing is that while the teachers can tell kids that a gunman could come in and shoot all the children, look what happens when a kid speaks the word “gun.” :/

  3. J.T. Wenting November 11, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    “I’m still going to argue that the scenarios play a valuable role in ironing out communication difficulties between the services”

    yes, but the scenario could/should have been selected to represent a more likely event, like an explosion in a nearby chemical plant that threatened to blow toxic clouds over the town center, or a hostage situation resulting from a bank robbery gone bad.

  4. pentamom November 11, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    A mock helicopter was probably a person sitting somewhere with a radio pretending to track ground-level activity.

  5. Donna November 11, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Yes, on one level it seems like a waste since abductions are rare. On the other hand, they do happen. If my child was abducted, I would certainly hope that the people handling the situation had their crap together BEFORE that day and weren’t just making it up as they went along. How are they supposed to have their crap together if they never practice?

    As baby-paramedic says, they know how to do the routine common stuff without drills. It is the rarities that need to be drilled. Sometimes I think this blog takes the stance more akin to abductions never happen than abductions are rare.

    Now as for SKLs lockdown drills, those seem ridiculous. Drills are supposed to practice how to do something and lockdowns seem to be the anti-thesis of doing. Kids already understand sit quietly. The ability to do so may vary but is not a skill that can be learned in a drill either.

  6. Donna November 11, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    “but the scenario could/should have been selected to represent a more likely event, like an explosion in a nearby chemical plant that threatened to blow toxic clouds over the town center, or a hostage situation resulting from a bank robbery gone bad.”

    Really? You really believe that those scenarios are more common? Apparently way too many movies. I’m not saying that abductions are common, just that those things are equally as uncommon.

    Further, these are going to be different skill sets than an abduction scenario. If we are going to be drilling for remote possibilities, it appears that all three would be interesting.

  7. Shelly Stow November 11, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    If we must use child abductions, why don’t we use the scenario most likely to have occurred? According to the FBI, virtually all child abductions are committed by those known by the victim, people in their lives, and the victim is most likely to be in or about the location from which he or she was reported missing.

    So let’s see a mock scenario where a child is reported missing and the police practice searching the house, questioning everyone there, searching any nearby woods, buildings, abandoned wells….

    Oh, but I guess they know how to do that; they must have done it many times in reality.

    This focus on stranger danger is one of the most damaging myths ever propagated in our society. It has almost completely prevented any strides being made toward addressing the reality that usually it is parents who beat, starve, sexually abuse, and kill their own children.

  8. Donna November 11, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    While I can see value in the exercise for the responders, I do wonder why it is a newspaper article. THAT seems to be the main problem here, not the drill itself.

    Police and other first responders need to think about and have plans for even remote possibilities. It is their job. The public need not be involved. While there may be a reason to publicize something if the drill is going to be disruptive to daily life in the town, I see no need inform the public otherwise. Police officers get training regularly. It is not like we read about how they had a meeting to teach them updates on the law or firearms training every time it happens.

  9. Andy November 11, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    A mock helicopter is probably something cheaper then the real helicopter that simulates helicopter for the training purposes. Most likely someone sitting in the office while sending the same radio signals as the real helicopter would.

    So, the cops would hear “helicopter spotted suspect” without organizers having to pay for a real helicopter. I doubt there is anything special about it.

    Professionals and responders of any kind need to train both probable and rare situations. Staged training should be designed to test those parts of the system that are most likely to fail. They should not be treated as public relations campaigns and should not be read as such.

  10. Lisa November 11, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Will Arkin brings some perspective to this disaster/ crisis mentality that is costing a huge amount of money in every aspect of life, is shaping the social realm and is changing the face of democracy. He is an award winning journalist and spoke with Vermont Public Radio here:

  11. lollipoplover November 11, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Images of Wonderwoman’s invisible plane fill my mind when you say mock helicopter.

    Being prepared is good. It’s smart to come up with plans ahead of time of who does what and when but I cannot fathom the amount of resources wasted on staging fake crimes/disasters for practice.

    And if the majority of abductions are parental/domestic disputes, not stranger kidnappings, put these mock resources toward mediation and counseling to help families remedy domestic disputes peacefully vs. resorting to kidnapping?
    Now THAT would be a smart way to spend money.

  12. Dave Bauer November 11, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Again, without context, we don’t know how this scenario was selected, how often these type of drills are performed, so we blindly comment on a random news article.

    PLEASE try to be more informed before posting and commenting. A more nuanced comment is appreciated. As the first commenter noted, this type of thing IS needed as emergencies all across the world have shown. Agencies need to learn how to coordinate to better deal with emergencies. All types of emergencies. I wish you could have mentioned that at least, that perhaps a flood, explosion, fire, etc which are more common and really would require all these agencies to coordinate, might have been a better scenario to practice.

  13. Mark Roulo November 11, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Okay … here goes:

    Question #1: Why were they drilling on a child abduction rather than something like a hostage situation at a bank?

    Answer: Because CART stands for “Child Abduction Response Team.” These folks were drilling to cover their job description. One may, if one wishes, suggest that Florida should have no CART units, but if you are going to have them, they are going to drill.

    Question #2: Why did the newspaper cover this?

    Answer: Because Wakulla County has a population of about 30,000 and this was probably the most interesting thing that happened all week/month there.

    Question #3: If we must use child abductions, why don’t we use the scenario most likely to have occurred?

    This, I don’t know …

  14. Donna November 11, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    “Being prepared is good. It’s smart to come up with plans ahead of time of who does what and when but I cannot fathom the amount of resources wasted on staging fake crimes/disasters for practice.”

    But how do you know if your plans are feasible unless you try them out? These are random, rare occurrences. There is no ability to fine tune the plan over years of practice as there is for the situations that they deal with every shift. If your kid is one of the 120 kidnapped by strangers this year, you don’t want to hear “our planned looked so good on paper but didn’t work so well in reality. Oh well now we know and will do better next time.” You want it done right your time!!!

    I’m also not so sure why everyone is so set on this being only training for stranger abductions. It is good training for ALL abductions, even those committed by family members and friends. In fact, there isn’t a single thing in the article I read that says that the scenario in the training even IS a stranger abduction. It just said child abduction. It could just as easily be the more common scenario of a non-custodial dad who just took off with his kid.

  15. Katie November 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Some have already said this – I am less bothered with the “mock” procedure and more with the publication of it. I work in product development. When developing a product (or a process as in this case) you need to test it before you make it commercially available (or implement it). Verification and Validation is pretty standard. I am hoping these types of simulations are actually part and parcel to creating procedures to find any bugs before they need to actually use it.

    That said – do we need a news article on it? Probably not. Is it news because they were testing their abduction process and not their kitty-stuck-in-a-tree process…yes. That is the issue here.

  16. Dan November 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Thanks for your comment Donna – the last paragraph echoes my sentiments exactly. That is, right up to the point about the non-custodial dad. I wish you had said “non-custodial parent”. Gender bias toward active parenting is bad enough (plenty of examples on this very site). There are more than enough examples of abductions by moms as well.

  17. Warren November 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Yes by all means drill your butts off. Given that this is Fla. I believe that the resources used, time, people, money, equipment would have been better spent on hurricane, wildfire or some such disaster preparedness.

    Do not tell me that they already know how to deal with those things, because there is always a need to drill, and there is always room for improvement.

    As for drilling for a child abduction, it is insane, and nothing more than justifying budgets for an agency that hasn’t had a real abduction, to handle.

  18. Donna November 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Dan – I didn’t mean to exclude mothers from potential abductors, any more than I meant to exclude babysitters, grandparents, crazy uncles or schizophrenic aunts. Clearly in a police scenario the suspect would be a specific person and not a generic parent. I simply picked the most common non-custodial parent, and like it or not, that is usually dad.

  19. Emily November 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Maybe the “mock” procedure would be better practiced with members of the team acting as mock “victims,” which is how I learned how to rescue real victims during all those years of swimming/lifesaving lesson during my youth. I think that, if a ten-year-old kid in the Maroon class can understand, “Britney will scream and thrash and pretend to be panicking in the water, so Ashley, you throw her this flutterboard, GENTLY, and encourage her to kick her way to the side of the pool,” then adults trained as police officers, etc., could understand that, just for today, Officer Bob is going to pretend to be the victim of child abduction in the simulation, while Officer Joe leads the rest of the team in “rescuing” him.

  20. Donna November 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    @ Emily – I’m not sure why you think an outsider was involved in this training exercise. They aren’t usually. I wouldn’t be surprised if they used non-CART police officers to play roles like victim and perp if needed since this is a team exercise so the CART members were all needed to do their jobs, but I didn’t get the impression that any civilians were involved. Nor am I sure why it matters. If outsiders are used, it is volunteers. Nobody was involved who didn’t know that this was a fake training exercise and willingly chose to be a part of it. Personally, I think it would be great fun to play victim for a couple days.

  21. Amanda Matthews November 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    I can understand needing to be prepared for curveballs. But what, really, are the odds that when a curveball does occur, it will be enough like the pretend situation, that the pretend situation has prepared anyone?

    No matter how many times they do these mock abductions, a real abduction is going to be little like it. So they’re STILL going to be making it up as they go along.

    In every situation where I could potentially be faced with an unpredictable emergency, I was taught how to best make it up as I go along, rather than practicing specific situations that were unlikely to occur. THINKING is more important than memorizing a procedure that most likely will not apply to anything you actually experience.

    By all means – regularly ensure that the different necessary groups can contact each other efficiently. You don’t have to set up a mock abduction to do that.

    But on the very, very small chance a child of mine were ever to get kidnapped, I’d want people dealing with it who could make things up as they go along, rather than people that get confused because it isn’t going like the mock kidnapping.

  22. SKL November 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if Florida would come up with a working plan to save abused children from their own parents / caregivers? I know a couple of others have said similar, but I felt it bore repeating. I know it’s a pipe dream, but putting resources toward the greatest need *sounds* so simple . . . .

  23. Donna November 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I really think that a lot of people have no idea of how these teams work. This is not Law and Order: CART unit. There are not CART police officers who sit around all day doing nothing for years on end while they wait for a child abduction to happen. These are just routine police officers who have agreed to be part of CART as an EXTRA duty. They then are on-call to be called in or pulled from other duty if an actual child abduction occurs.

    Some of the members of the team may not know each other well. In situations like this, you are incorporating other agencies and some of the members of the team won’t know each other at all. Training like this is as much to get the entire team together as it is to learn anything. I suppose they could all just go out to dinner together occasionally but actually learning something useful as well as team building is probably a better use of resources.

    Further, police officers train constantly. At least once a month, I have some hearing postponed because a needed officer is in training. The CART team gets together occasionally and practices an abduction scenario. The hostage team gets together occasionally and practices a hostage scenario. The SERT team gets together occasionally and practices breaking in doors. And so on through all the many units and teams that make up a police force. A seasoned police officer’s training history will be several pages long. The difference is that this was apparently a really slow news day so you heard about it instead of it occurring without your knowledge.

    And I’ve never known a police officer worth anything who panicked because the actual real life incident wasn’t exactly as they trained. That is just idiotic. Training is just that: training. I continue to train for my job regularly. Some of it involves learning updates in the law other times it involves role play and mock trials. Anyone who thinks that he already knows everything he needs to know about a job is not an employee that I want.

  24. Amanda Matthews November 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    I’m not saying that anyone knows everything about their job. But there are much better – more time efficient – ways to train and build relationships than mock scenarios that bear little resemblance to the real thing.

    IMO a mock stranger kidnapping has just as much TRAINING value as having dinner (which is to say, none); and LESS relationship-building value.

    Yes, this goes on all the time and I happen to be hearing about it today. That is why I formed an opinion about it today.

  25. Andy November 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    Of course real situation will be different from staged one. However, if they never train, they are most likely to fail at real situation. If they regularly train various scenarios, then they have a chance. Variety is important when it comes to training.

    They are child abduction unit, so they should be training various child abductions most of the time.

    Even if they would be only regular cops, nothing suggests that they never trained bank hostage situations, suicide girl on bridge or flooding. One training covering rare situation does not signalize single minded focus of all their trainings.

    I do not know about your work, but in my work, when new set of people start to work together, things are less effective and kinda sux for a while. It get better when the team members get more experience working together.

  26. Papilio November 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    So, was the mock ransom not payed with Monopoly money?

  27. Warren November 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    The fact that there is a formal CHILD ABDUCTION RESPONSE TEAM, is to me a waste of time and resources. The time and effort it takes to get all the different agencies to agree on things, and get a command center set up………….body recovery response team is a better name.

    Resources would be better used to train front line local law enforcement officers. They will be the first ones on the scene, and stand a better chance of success.


  28. Andy November 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    Journalists in local newspapers do not write articles cause they think people need to read them. They write articles because they need to fill pages. Important interesting things happen only rarely in real world. Honestly, I hope it stays that way.

  29. Amanda Matthews November 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    “I do not know about your work, but in my work, when new set of people start to work together, things are less effective and kinda sux for a while. It get better when the team members get more experience working together.”

    If doing the mock scenarios is what is considered working for them, then sure, they’ll get more effective at doing the mock scenarios together the more they do the mock scenarios.

    I just don’t think that doing the mock scenarios translates into doing their ACTUAL work together any more effectively than having dinner together (there’s lots of things to work out; where do you go, do you order a group meal, how do you split the bill, Joe took too much potatoes; and the whole time you can talk and you’re actually getting to know each other, instead of just how you react to a mock situation); or playing a team game such as Team Fortress 2 together. (In fact I would think playing a team game would give you a more realistic situation, as you would have the opportunity to deal with the unpredictableness of the people on the other team.)

    But, I work alone. So.

  30. librarian November 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    I am surprised, they don’t mention the Free Range Kids movement here…but I’m taking this essay (and the one cited in there, as yet another sign that public opinion is slowly moving in the right direction!

  31. Andy November 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    @Amanda Matthews They are not meant to find common hobbies and learn about who likes what kind of music. They are not meant to build friendship. That is about maximum you can achieve by common dinner.

    They are meant to learn to work together which can be learned only by working together. How the person acts when passing the salt has nothing to do with whether the same person interprets your work related instructions right.

  32. Andy November 11, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    @Amanda Matthews Those simple examples you stated sounds more like elementary school exercise. Splitting bill or potatos, or more generally team building exercises have no relation to team success.

    And yes, if I would have a team of programmers for two days long competition, we would do few mock projects together before the competition. That would teach us much more about working together then common dinner (which might or might not happen depending on whether there would be additional time and willingness for it).

  33. Donna November 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    “IMO a mock stranger kidnapping has just as much TRAINING value as having dinner (which is to say, none); and LESS relationship-building value.”

    Really? Dinner has more training value for a CHILD ABDUCTION TEAM than an actual mock abduction? That is probably the most idiotic thing I’ve read on this website in many months. You can debate all day whether there should be a child abduction team at all but that is a different argument. If you are going to have a CHILD ABDUCTION TEAM, actually doing a mock child abduction training teaches you far more about working a child abduction than eating pizza.

    Further, the only people inserting STRANGER in this scenario are the people here. There is not one single word in the press release about this being a mock STRANGER abduction. It simply says mock child abduction.

    If it is, it is still relevant to practice for ALL abductions – stranger, custodial, familial, birth parents from foster care, whatever. When I was in law school, I interned at the DAs office. They have 2 very busy attorneys that handle absolutely nothing whatsoever other than known-entity child abductions (stranger abductions are handled in a different unit) and who have HUNDREDS of pending cases. Those cases ALL involve transporting children, often internationally based on the location, and would require many of the same methods as used in a stranger abduction. Heck, I get almost weekly Amber alerts (I really wish I could figure out how to turn that feature off on my phone) about child abductions. So it is not as though children NEVER get abducted by someone who is on the move with them.

    You accused the police of it, but you seem to be the one that can’t understand that methods learned in a stranger scenario (if that is what this even was) can be used in much more common child abduction scenarios. It is not as though the police will get a call about a noncustodial parent abduction and think “Well gosh darn, we just spent 2 days training for a stranger abduction and despite the fact that this is the EXACT SAME scenario that we just trained we can’t do a single thing learned in training because it isn’t a stranger,” as if stranger is the only key component instead of child taken from legal custodian and on the move to parts unknown.

  34. Amanda Matthews November 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    “They are meant to learn to work together which can be learned only by working together.”

    Then the mock situations are pointless, because doing them is not working.

    I would think that the reason the people that work closely together have relationships, is because they have downtime to get to know each other. They get to know that Jim takes more risks because his wife left, took the kids and he doesn’t have anything to go home to. But Betty, on the other hand, has a daughter she wants to stay alive for.

    All you get to know in a mock situation, is how each person reacts to a MOCK situation. Maybe Betty is indifferent to the mock situation, but when a 7 year old is actually abducted, she thinks about how similar that kid is to her daughter.

  35. Amanda Matthews November 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Donna, you’re taking things too literally.

    You’re not an expert just because your job is connected to police officers.

    And the fact that they deal with all of those situations the same IS THE SCREWED UP PART. A parent late returning their kid after visitation, while yes is transporting a child, should NOT be dealt with in the same way a stranger actually kidnapping should be dealt with. They should be being taught to look at each situation and THINK about it, then apply APPROPRIATE reactions, rather than just blindly doing what they did in the drills.

  36. Donna November 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    “Then the mock situations are pointless, because doing them is not working.”

    Under what theory are you basing that statement? The fact that children are still abducted? The fact that not every single abducted child is returned home? Do you actually know how many kids are abducted and returned home before they leave the state BECAUSE the local police officers actually trained police tactics and didn’t just get together and eat pizza? You’ve assumed that number is zero, but based on what?

    “I would think that the reason the people that work closely together have relationships, is because they have downtime to get to know each other.”

    But you are not talking about people who work closely together. You are talking about people who barely know each other and are forced to work together every once in awhile in a highly stressful situation.

    And knowing that Jim is a risk taker and Betty isn’t says absolutely nothing about your ability to communicate with them in work-oriented discussions. It says nothing about how they handle their assigned tasks. It says nothing about how they handle stress. It tells you nothing about how they react to orders. It tells you nothing about how they interview people or how they interact with their superiors or other officials. It can in no way prepare you for how you can work with them even if you detest them with every fiber of your being as a person.

    It also tells you nothing about how your procedure works in the 3-dimensional world, as opposed to on paper. It doesn’t tell you whether the people tasked with a role, actually understand that role. And are competent to perform it.

    The fact is that you learn A LOT in mock situations. Several times a year the state criminal defense lawyers get together and have trainings. We get a fact pattern that last for the entire weekend and conduct various mock hearings and trials. Lawyers who have been practicing for 20 and 30 years still learn things Every.Single.Time.

    But you are correct, if Betty is not going to put her heart into it, Betty is not going to learn anything. But if Betty is not going to put her heart into training, I’d just as soon Betty not be a police officer in charge of any case involving my loved ones.

  37. Donna November 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Amanda – Why is it that you insist that training a specific scenario, as opposed to just reading a plan on some pamphlet handed out to the team, somehow negates any ability to make a professional decision again? That, just because these officers engaged in this training, they suddenly lose all ability to be able to determine the difference between a parent who is bringing home a child late from visitation and a parent who is fleeing the state with a child? Do you really think people are that stupid? Do you really think that police departments are that stupid?

    Nowhere in this situation is the idea that now that they’ve practiced this they must address every situation this exact same way. This is practice; not a rule book. Next time they’ll train to a different fact scenario. The next time it will be something different still. All within the rubric of child abductions.

  38. Peter November 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    A mock helicopter was probably a person sitting somewhere with a radio pretending to track ground-level activity.

    Yes, but was he doing this?

  39. Taradlion November 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    I now love Peter.

    I wish the focus would be on the fact that the members of CART do NOT know each other and have not had a chance to work together because there have not been any REAL abductions. The fact that it is so rare is the reason to have a mock abduction. When training to be a college campus EMT we did some crazy (mock) disaster training….we didn’t need to practice alcohol poisoning because we did that. (Oh, and for the record, when training to be a dorm RA, we did train for crisis counseling and referral including date rape).

  40. baby-paramedic November 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    I much prefer the mock scenarios we have had rather than going out for dinner. Seems more useful to me.
    And it is true, mock scenarios are not the real thing.
    (But I guess I cannot comment either, as this discusses police, and I merely work with them).

    When you are dealing with something horrific, you need a way to work through it, to do you job. Many people freeze in horrific situations, we cannot afford to do that. Each person has their own methods of avoiding the freeze.

    For me it is to break it down. Have a system I can work through. And when I am confronted by a problem, I have to figure a way around it. When we are confronted with a problem those of us there pool our knowledge, that we have gained from experience, TRAINING, and listening to stories, to come up with a working solution. Those five days intensive training on how to extricate people from cars and buildings has been useful. Sure, I am yet to go to anyone caught in an elevator shaft, but I have come across someone fallen down a hole we had to get out. Some of the skills were transferable.

  41. Warren November 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    This just in……..The US Law Enforcement Community, in an effort to be prepared for any event has formed 4HOTART. There will be mock drills held once a year in each state. Funding to come directly from the taxpayers. 4HOTART will be a joint tactical team consisting of the FBI, ATF, DOD, NSA, CIA, CID, NCIS and SHIELD. Your federal gov’t wants the public to rest easy knowing that there is a plan. And that the 4 HORSEMEN OF THE APOCOLYPSE RESPONSE TEAM will keep the public safe.

  42. pentamom November 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    Peter FTW.

  43. bmjj2k November 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    The only thing I can say about this is that thankfully they didn’t get any actual children involved

  44. Andy November 12, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    @Amanda Matthews “Then the mock situations are pointless, because doing them is not working.”

    Why? I do not get the logic behind that. What is the big important difference that makes them useless? As far as the team is concerned, the only thing missing is stress and pressure.

    What you say is like saying that football team should not play mock matches during their trainings, because they are different from real match. They should replace them by common dinners to learn how to split the bill and to find out who is jerk about potatos.

    Btw, solving mock situation is work for them, they are paid for that time.

  45. oncefallendotcom November 12, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    I found a more fitting “mock helicopter.”

    It is even sillier than “mock turtle soup.” What makes it mock? Do they point and laugh at the turtle before cooking it? But I digress.

    Be sure to tune in next time as we discuss school drills for the Zombie Apocalypse.

  46. pentamom November 12, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Mock turtle soup is soup made like turtle soup, only using beef organ meat, because it was cheaper and more widely available than turtle. That’s why the Mock Turtle in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has a bovine face and hooves in the original illustrations, and his sobbing sounds like mooing.

  47. pentamom November 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I think Amanda is saying that a mock situation is not useful because it is not literally “working,” that is, it is acting out a scenario, not actually doing the job.

    I don’t agree — in order for this to be the case, there would have to be some substantial difference between the way a mock scenario is played out, and the way people would actually work together in a real one. If you can’t demonstrate that such differences actually occur in reality, saying “This won’t help because it isn’t the real thing” isn’t very convincing. You can’t just assume that people respond differently to a drill than to reality, without arguing the point. Hundreds of years of armies using war games as an important aspect of their training seem to indicate that the differences are not great enough to make the exercise “pointless,” whatever limitations they may have.

  48. Kay November 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    A mock abduction drill? I wonder what prompted this because it seems kind of random considering most of the drills revolve around school shootings these days.

  49. anonymous this time November 13, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    Wow, we’re really getting quite elaborate with our deck-chair arranging aboard the Titanic, aren’t we just?