Oneonta Police Chief Dennis Nayor is redoubling efforts to teach parents about preventing child abductions and to train offers to respond if such a crime were to occur.
And it could happen in this area, according to law enforcement officials.
“There is no guarantee of safety — we hope it never happens,” Nayor said. “But we have to prepare.”
Nayor has issued guidelines for the police department and has pointers for parents. He was spurred into heightened efforts as the result of recent, near tandem events — his attendance at a seminar on missing children and news about three women escaping captivity in Cleveland after being abducted about a decade ago.
Nayor said the major lesson he learned at training presented by National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Rochester on April 30 and May 1 was that the organization’s resources are available to any jurisdiction, including the Oneonta Police Department.
“The most important reminder from the training was that we, in law enforcement, have only one chance to do things right at the beginning of an investigation in order to ensure the best possibility of rescuing an abducted child,” Nayor said in a May 6 memorandum to the department.
“This is something that would be every parent’s worst nightmare, so a successful resolution depends upon our actions.”
Nayor distributed investigative checklists to follow and shared other facts about abductions and guidelines for responding to reports of missing children and teenagers.
Later on May 6, three Cleveland women were rescued from captivity about 10 years after vanishing. Authorities are holding a man charged in their abductions.
Abductions have happened in this area and could happen again, Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin said Tuesday.
Children need to know about dangerous situations, Devlin said, and he also encouraged parents in today’s fast-paced lifestyle to take time to know their children’s whereabouts, plans, friends and associates. He urged parents to notify deputies immediately if a child is missing or suspicious circumstances arise.