AUSTIN – Last month, the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program hit a key milestone, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is proud to announce that 10,000 individuals — in Texas, across the nation and around the globe — have been trained through this vital program. IPC equips law enforcement officers with the tools to recognize indicators of missing, exploited, at-risk and endangered children, and as a result, law enforcement officers can more readily identify and rescue children.
“The Interdiction for the Protection of Children program provides vital training to law enforcement, and in turn removes heinous criminals who target children from our streets,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “IPC has led to the rescue of countless victims across Texas and the country — and it’s because law enforcement has the resources to detect and interdict these depraved predators.”
Launched in 2009, IPC teaches officers how to look for children who may be abducted, endangered or exploited through its two-day, 16-hour training program. IPC has been credited for leading to the rescue of hundreds of children, including 433 children who have been rescued by DPS Troopers alone. The program marked its 10th anniversary in April.
“This program is applicable to law enforcement agencies of all sizes and gives officers the resources they need to recognize children who are in danger — with agencies often making their first rescue within six months,” said DPS Captain Derek Prestridge, who helped create the program and is now the IPC program supervisor. “People make assumptions that a child victim will cry out, and that’s not the case. The primary message IPC teaches is for us to stop waiting for children to tell you they are victims of trafficking, abuse and neglect. IPC trains front-line officers to take action when they come into contact with children who need their help.”
DPS partners with various law enforcement, victim services and child protective services agencies to provide IPC training. Nationwide, this specialized training has been provided to state troopers, including all Texas Troopers; police officers; sheriffs’ deputies; investigators; child protection services professionals; prosecutors and victim service professionals. Since 2014, this crucial training has been made available nationally with a grant through the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Service.
The Texas Highway Patrol is the most visible branch to receive IPC training in the state. DPS Troopers stop approximately 3 million vehicles annually, affording a substantial opportunity to spot at-risk children.
In addition to rescuing children, IPC gives law enforcement the tools to be proactive and prevent crime by helping officers remove offenders from our streets and recognize high-risk threats to children that may have otherwise been overlooked. As a result, officers have initiated criminal investigations involving abduction, human trafficking, sexual assault of a child, sex offender non-compliance and possession of child pornography.