ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Twenty percent of all children missing in the United States are from Virginia, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Roanoke police and the non-profit "Help Save The Next Girl" are teaming up to raise awareness about cases like these. At the Market Square Plaza on Friday, police showed off their newest patrol car with decals in support of the non-profit.
"Help Save The Next Girl" is continuing its efforts with law enforcement to protect young women and girls from all types of danger, especially when it comes to abduction and missing person cases.
"To showcase things like this to bring attention to what's going on around the world today with saving the next girl and human trafficking," said Detective Eddie Hopkins with the Investigative Bureau who helped to organize the event.
"It's difficult working a case where someone is missing and you always hope for a positive outcome and sometimes it's not. We want to try to prevent those incidents from happening. And Help Save the Next Girl is a message that keeps going forward," said Sgt. Jennifer Boswell.
Boswell works closely with "Help Save the Next Girl." The car is designated to District 14, which is the area around Valley View Mall. It will patrol 24 hours a day.
"If someone doesn't know who Help Save the Next Girl is and they see this car, maybe they'll go and Google it. And they go 'oh my gosh.' Or maybe 'what can I do? Maybe I should get my teenager to sit down to have a discussion' this happens with this young lady. Because there are several people who have been victims of the auction or missing, murder or rape," said Boswell.
Since January 1, 185 children have gone missing in the state. Thirty of them were reported missing from central Virginia. Roanoke police will hold a missing person class on April 29 at the Roanoke Police Academy.