LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the allocation of an additional $100,000 for the Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) program, a multiagency initiative coordinated by the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Arkansas. This contribution brings the Attorney General’s allocation to a total of $350,000 for the program. In 2019, Arkansas was the first state to have a collaborative statewide certification of all twelve CARTs, which are used to streamline resources and better protect children if they are abducted, missing or endangered.
“When a child goes missing every second could mean the difference between life and death,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am extremely proud of the work CART teams and our partners completed and it’s why I am committed to investing in our law enforcement to ensure we can bring all missing persons home.”
Criminal Justice Institute’s Dr. Cheryl May had this to say about today’s funding announcement.
“Implementation of the Arkansas CART has greatly expanding the capability of our first responders, in both manpower and resources, to quickly initiate recovery efforts when a child is abducted, missing or endangered. Arkansas is one of the only states in the Nation that can provide this type of response within all of its counties,” said Dr. Cheryl May, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute. “We are grateful to Attorney General Rutledge for providing our State with the opportunity to continue this impactful program and commend her dedication to the safety of Arkansas children.”
In 2019, just after CART announced its first-in-the-nation statewide certification, Attorney General Rutledge announced the distribution of $150,000 to the CART teams. A partnership was previously formed in 2016, between the Attorney General’s Office, the Criminal Justice Institute, Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The agreement formed the foundation for twelve CARTs with the goal of reducing the response time and increasing the likelihood of a successful recovery for missing or abducted children.
In 2015, Rutledge designated $100,000 to facilitate the implementation of CARTs throughout the state. Like previous disbursements, today’s funding is allocated from the Consumer Education and Enforcement fund.
About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected as Attorney General. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking office, she has significantly increased the number of arrests and convictions against online predators who exploit children and con artists who steal taxpayer money through Social Security Disability and Medicaid fraud. Further, she has held Rutledge Roundtable meetings and Mobile Office hours in every county of the State each year, and launched a Military and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll back government regulations that hurt job creators, fight the opioid epidemic, teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves on committees for Consumer Protection, Criminal Law and Veterans Affairs for the National Association of Attorneys General. She also served as the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.