21.00.160     MISSING PERSONS       (CALEA 41.2.5)

 

The Department will immediately respond and investigate all cases of reported missing persons.  Juveniles reported as runaways will be immediately investigated as missing persons until information indicates otherwise.

 

Collecting Information

 

The responding officer will gather essential information regarding subject’s description, and circumstances surrounding the disappearance to complete the incident report, as well as information needed to complete a WACIC and/or NCIC entry.

 

If the officer develops information on the location of the subject, all reasonable effort must be made to locate the individual.  Depending on the missing person's age or mental capacity, the search could utilize the use of specialized K9 units (Bloodhounds), aerial searches, ground searches, neighborhood canvassing, or use of the reverse 911 system (with approval from a Captain or above) and/or the news media. 

 

All missing person’s reports, including runaways, will be investigated at the scene of the disappearance.  Phone call reports are typically not acceptable.  There are occasions when the reporting party will be calling from another jurisdiction to report someone missing.

 

Information should be noted, NCIC/WACIC entry completed, and arrangements made to meet with the reporting person at the site of disappearance, i.e., residence, school, etc.

 

When the missing person is a juvenile, a custodial parent/guardian must sign the report listing the juvenile as missing.

 

Notifying the Supervisor

 

Upon gathering preliminary information, the officer will notify an on-duty supervisor of the incident.  The supervisor will contact an investigations supervisor if necessary and notify the on-duty Watch commander who will oversee all investigations of a suspicious nature, a small child, and an elderly or handicapped person.

 

Entering Missing Persons Information into WACIC

 

Missing persons can only be entered into WACIC or NCIC if they fall within the following four categories.  A signed missing person police report is required and must contain sufficient informative detail in the report narrative to document the following classifications:

 

v     Disabled (D)

 

Under proven physical/mental disability or is senile, thereby subjecting themselves or others to personal and immediate danger

 

v     Endangered (E)

 

Under circumstances indicating their physical safety may be in danger

 

v     Involuntary (I)

 

Under circumstances indicating the disappearance was not voluntary, i.e., abduction or kidnapping

 

v     Juvenile (J)

 

Any juvenile as defined by the laws of the State of Washington.  (Juvenile still under parent or court control)

 

The Department’s PIO may be called upon as necessary to create a press release and coordinate the release of information and a photo of the missing person to the media.

 

The information on the missing person, as well as a picture, if available, will be made available in Patrol.

 

The missing person will be entered in the state WACIC computer immediately after taking the report.

 

The missing person will be cleared from the WACIC computer when:

 

v     The missing person has been located

 

v     The person is no longer considered missing

 

Follow-up

 

Follow-up contact with the reporting person is assigned to the Investigations Section.  The report will be routed to an Investigations supervisor who will assign the case to a Detective.

 

After-hours Notifications

 

When a missing person report is received during non-business hours and the on-duty patrol supervisor or watch commander believe that the circumstances surrounding the disappearance are suspicious, he/she will notify the on-call Investigations supervisor.  The on-duty/on call Watch Commander shall be notified who will assist with staffing coordination if necessary and make appropriate notifications up the chain of command.

 

State Patrol Missing Persons Report

 

Within 30 days, the assigned Detective will complete the Washington State Patrol's missing persons report.  If the missing person is not located within the first 30 days, a release of information form is required.  The information release form will be signed by a family member of the missing person and gives permission to release dental records to the investigative Detective.  RCW 68.50.320 requires police action on this matter.