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Zoo’s Missing Child Drill Termed Successful

CMC Zoo Logo

By Press Release

SWAINTON – A missing child drill was performed at the Cape May County Zoo Sept. 12. According to a release, the situation was handled promptly and safely by zoo staff and the Cape May County Sheriff’s Department, which is responsible for the safety of the zoo.
None of the employees were aware it was a drill.
The live-action situation involved a mother who went to the ladies room, while her 12-year-old daughter waited outside. The mother returned and reported to the staff that her daughter was missing.
The employees enacted their missing child policy and searched the entire area of the zoo.
Parks Director Ed Runyon checked the cameras and spotted the child leaving with her father. In this scenario, the man was separated from the woman, and she had a restraining order against him.
It was reported to sheriff’s officers who stopped the vehicle and safely rescued the child.
“All of the Park and Zoo employees and the Sheriff’s Department did a great job,” stated Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, liaison to the Cape May County Park and Zoo. “During the time I was observing from the director’s office, the questions being asked by the employees and actions taken, were right on point. I would like to commend Sheriff Robert Nolan, Director Ed Runyon and veterinarians Hubert Paluch and Alex Ernest and all of the employees involved.”
The county has been working with local law enforcement agencies and the Sheriff’s Office to ensure county buildings and facilities are as safe as possible for every possible scenario.
“We have a great Sheriff’s Department and they do an amazing job,” stated Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard Desiderio, liaison to the Sheriff’s Department. “We are very pleased with their efforts in this drill along with the Park and Zoo staff.”
“Realizing the dangers present in society today, I saw the need for developing a procedure to address our response in a tragic situation such as the disappearance of a child in our Park and Zoo,” stated Nolan. “Director Ed Runyon, had safeguards in place already and we wanted to incorporate the law enforcement component in order to expedite the safe recovery of the missing child.”

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