ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) announced today that Ernie Allen is retiring as President and CEO after having been involved with the organization for more than 28 years.
Allen, 66, served as the organization's first chairman when it was created in 1984. He has served as President and CEO for more than 23 years. During his tenure, Allen built NCMEC into one of America's most trusted, respected charities, and has grown it from a $1 million organization with 40 employees to a nearly $50 million organization with 350 employees today.
Allen will continue to be involved with NCMEC through a new role as Founding Chairman and will focus his time on strategic projects and national and global policy issues that impact the organization.
Allen will also spend more time in his on-going role as President and CEO of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), a sister organization to NCMEC. The international organization is creating a new Global Health Coalition including the world's leading pharmaceutical companies and health care institutions in an effort to address the growing problem of child sexual abuse and exploitation as a public health crisis. The coalition will be formally launched in Zurich, Switzerland this October.
"For Ernie, this was always more than a job, it was a mission," said John Walsh NCMEC's co-founder and host of America's Most Wanted. "When my wife, Reve, and I started the Center, we had high hopes, but what Ernie has built exceeded our wildest dreams. In addition to the success that has been made in this country, he is working with governments and others to establish similar centers throughout the world. Even though Ernie is retiring as President, we are very pleased that he will continue to be a key advisor for the Center."
Under Allen's leadership the way America searches for missing children changed. More children come home safely today than any time in American history and more offenders who prey upon children are brought to justice than ever before.
Today there is better law and better technology. Law enforcement is better prepared and responds more swiftly and effectively. Families and children are more alert and aware and there is a coordinated effort led by NCMEC that involves more than 18,000 local police departments throughout the country, business leaders, researchers, nonprofit groups and the general public all working together.
The organization has worked with law enforcement to recover more than 175,000 missing children and its recovery rate has increased from 62 percent in 1990 to 97 percent today. NCMEC is the only child protection nonprofit given access to the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). More than a dozen liaisons from various federal law enforcement organizations are assigned to work out of NCMEC offices.
NCMEC was created in 1984 and designated by Congress to serve as the national resource center and clearinghouse of information for law enforcement and parents. NCMEC is not a government agency but is, in fact, a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in partnership with law enforcement and others.
The NCMEC board has selected current chairman, John Ryan, to take on the role of interim CEO while a search is underway for a permanent head. Mr. Ryan, a longtime NCMEC board member and current chairman of the board, was formerly a chief counsel at AOL where he oversaw AOL's interactions with law enforcement and worked to keep criminal activity off the company's networks. Prior to joining AOL, Mr. Ryan was a prosecutor in New York, where he investigated and prosecuted numerous high-tech crimes, including crimes against children.
About The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984. Designated by Congress to serve as the nation's clearinghouse, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 3,568,780 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 175,230 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 1,409,850 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 67,823,440 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.
SOURCE National Center for Missing & Exploited Children