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Texas DPS troopers have rescued 500 children during traffic stops since 2009

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers receive specialized training to spot indicators that a child is a victim or at risk of becoming one.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) highway patrol troopers have rescued 500 children during traffic stops since 2009, when troopers began receiving specialized training as part of the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program.

According to DPS, IPC training teaches officers to spot indicators that a child is a victim or at risk of becoming one, including children who are missing, exploited, at-risk or endangered. Troopers receive the training through a two-day, 16-hour course that uses a child-centered approach and assesses the total circumstances to determine if a child is at risk. 

The training also aids DPS in related child abduction, human trafficking, possession of child pornography and sexual assault investigations.

RELATED: Texas 2019 DPS crime report shows increase in state's violent crime rate

"This is an outstanding contribution to public safety by our troopers who identified and rescued children during standard traffic stops, even though the child could not necessarily vocalize they needed help," DPS Director Steven McCraw said.

IPC collectively trains law enforcement, prosecutors, criminal intelligence analysts and child protective service, victim services and child advocacy center professionals. The program advocates for the message, "Stop waiting for children to ask for your help."

WATCH: How Texas is fighting human trafficking

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