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SALT LAKE CITY -- When a child is abducted in Utah, it often triggers an Amber Alert. Wednesday, officers from many agencies issued such an alert, but it was only a test.
Testing of the Amber Alert system is needed for certification so that when the next missing child case happens for real, responders will be nationally certified: proof they know exactly what to do.
The Utah Child Abduction Response Team (CART) received its first tip early in morning: "Dan Driver" had called to report a possible abduction of a small female child. They also got a picture and description of the little girl.
"It is going to be just like an activation," said Capt. Jessica Farnsworth, Utah CART commander. "We do have a child out there that is missing, and so we're going to jump right into it."
CART has been in Utah for over two years. It's made up of 160 officers from 27 different agencies who have received training all over the country.
Team members are divided into four divisions: logistics, search, investigation and intelligence. The drill gave all groups a chance to put their training to use and allowed them to complete their national certification from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The training also gives media a firsthand look at what happens when a child disappears.
"We are doing a drill, but we want it to be as real as possible," said West Valley police Sgt. Mike Powell.
Even though this was only a drill, the key was treating it like it was real -- showing that it takes a small army to bring a child home safely, which was the outcome in this case. In two and a half hours, the suspect was tracked down by dogs, and the little girl was found at a park.
CART members did so well in the mock search, it's going to be recommended that all 160 involved will get their national certification.