If you are interested in knowing how the police go about finding missing people, here are some of the policies they have set forth. However, you should remember that this is just a general outline and that local police agencies might have their own policies and rules to follow.
The State Policy
The state policy states that all officers assigned to a missing person report (including adults, juveniles and children) should:
1. Assess what the situation is and should instantaneously complete an initial report (Form DPS-159-C). this report should include the personal history and physical description of the person who is missing.
2. This collected information, and other pertinent data regarding the missing individual, must be disseminated as soon as possible.
3. The officer assigned must also determine the proper initial search effort basing from the specific conditions surrounding the situation.
4. They will also conduct a thorough search in the residence of the missing person and the location from where he/she was last found.
In addition to that, the police can activate an AMBER alert if it is highly suspected or confirmed that the missing child has been abducted and is exceedingly in danger.
The Local Policies
It is not required that the local police should follow the State Policy whenever there is a missing person. Also, there is no set and specific statewide policy that each department follows. Each local police department could have their own set of rules and regulations. For instance, they have unwritten policies in West Hartford while in Enfield, Hartford, Cromwell and the State Capitol Police have their specific written policies. The policies within each department typically comprises of the following:
1. Measures for gathering, assessing, and distributing the information internally and to the State Police when required.
2. The kind of information that the police officers must take during missing person reports. These information to be collected includes: the name, age, mental capacity, health and risk factor of the missing person.
3. Search and investigative action that officers must conduct and techniques that they should utilize and employ.
4. The tasks of different officials. This may include who is in charge of entering valuable information in the national or state database where required and who exactly coordinates the search and investigation.
5. The criteria in order to activate an AMBER Alert and entering the information of the missing person into the NCIC and Collect.
The Federal Law
The NCSAA or the National Child Search Assistance Act forbids federal, state or the local law enforcement agencies from instituting a waiting period before they accept a missing child case. The National Child Search Assistance Act also orders all law enforcement agencies to:
• Without any delay, enter reports of any missing children under the age of 21 into the state law enforcement system and NCIC. This is to make it accessible to the Missing Children Information Clearinghouse of the state or to any other agencies that are designated to obtain such reports.
• They should bring identifying information on each case up to date in the NCIC within 60 days.
• They should follow and pursue the appropriate investigative and search action.
• They should uphold a close contact with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). This is to ensure that information can be exchanged and technical assistance could be provided in the right cases (42 USC §§ 5779 and 5780).
The Police Training Council
As decreed by the law, the Police Officers Standard and Training Council must form and establish a minimum education and training standards for employment of police officers. They should provide at least four hours of training as to how to deal with a missing persons cases. They should also provide further training in certain areas such as COLLECT and criminal investigations.
These are just some of the policies set by different law enforcement agencies in order to deal with a missing person case. Remember, in order for law enforcement officials to do their jobs efficiently, and to find the missing person right away, make sure to give them your full cooperation.