15.130 - Missing Person

Effective Date: 8/1/2017

15.130-POL

1. Officers Document Missing Person Incidents on the Missing Persons Report (form 5.1.2)

A Missing Person report is completed when:

- An un-emancipated juvenile is reported missing or,

- A person of any age is reported missing for any period of time and there is a reasonable concern for their safety.

2. Officers Will Not Take a Missing Person Report in Certain Cases

Officers will not assist:

- Litigants in civil cases

- Process servers,

- Bill collectors,

- In the compilation of family histories,

- In the location of heirs.

3. There Is No Waiting Period to Take a Missing Person Report

4. Officers Include the Victim’s Full Name, Date of Birth, Height, Weight, Hair and Eye Color on the Missing Person Report

WACIC/NCIC does not accept reports without this information.

5. Officers Fax the Completed Missing Person Report to Data Center and Send the Original Report to Data

Federal law requires that information on a missing person under the age of 21 must be entered into WACIC and NCIC within two hours of the initial report.

6. A Lieutenant or Above Approves an AMBER Alert, or an Endangered/Missing Person Alert (EMPA)

7. Department Employees Use the AMBER Alert Plan to Locate an Abducted Child When the Following Criteria Are Met:

See 15.130-PRO-2 Initiating an AMBER Alert Plan

- The victim is under the age of 18 years of age

- The victim is not a voluntary runaway (previous history of runaway reports is not a sole factor for exclusion)

- There appears to be a risk of injury or death to the victim, in the opinion of the investigating agency

- There must be sufficient descriptive information available to the public that would help locate the child, suspect and/or suspect’s vehicle

- The missing child must be reported to and investigated by a law enforcement agency and a Missing Person Report is completed

8. Officers Searching for a Missing Child Conduct a Search of Surrounding Areas and Places of Concealment

Officers Use the Neighborhood Canvass Form (form 14.4) to Record the Search.

9. Officers Will Request an Endangered/Missing Person Alert (EMPA) if the Criteria are Met

An EMPA is issued when a person 18 years-of-age or older is missing under either:

- Unexplained, involuntary, or suspicious circumstances; and the person is believed to be in danger because of age, health, mental or physical disability [as defined in RCW 71A.10.020(5)], or is a vulnerable adult [as defined in RCW 74.34.020(17)], is missing during adverse weather conditions and/or is believed to be unable to return to safety without assistance.

- Voluntary circumstances, only if a person, due to mental disability [as defined in RCW 71A.10.020(5)] is in danger because of age or health, during adverse environment or weather conditions and/or is believed to be unable to return to safety without assistance.

- There is enough descriptive information that could assist in the safe recovery of the missing person. (Include as much of the following as possible.)

- For missing person - photo; height; weight; age; hair and eye color; hair length; race; any distinguishing physical characteristics; clothing worn when last seen; vehicle, if any, to include color, make, model, license number, approximate year (older, newer); location last seen, etc.).

The EMPA is considered a “Silver Alert” if the missing person is 60 years of age or older, suffering from a form of dementia, is not able to return to safety without assistance.

See 15.130-PRO-3 Initiating Endangered/Missing Person Alert (EMPA)

10. The Missing Persons Detail of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Section Conducts the Follow-up Investigations of Missing Persons Reports

15.130-PRO-1 Missing Child

Communications

1. Broadcasts detailed information of a missing child and assigns a primary officer.

Officer

2. Completes the initial investigation and reporting requirements of the missing child incident. See 15.130-TSK-1 Officer Investigating a Missing Child Incident.

3. Notifies a sergeant.

Sergeant

4. Assesses the need for incident command and initiates as needed.

5. Determines with the officer if the AMBER Alert system will be activated.

6. Determines if the situation calls for an SPDall email.

7. Coordinates patrol response.

15.130-PRO-2 Initiating an AMBER Alert Plan

Sergeant

1. Notifies an on-duty lieutenant if the AMBER Alert Plan is needed.

Lieutenant

2. Determines if the criteria are met for the initiation of the AMBER Alert Plan-See 15.130-POL-7, and initiates ICS. Updates the sergeant. See 15.130-TSK-2 AMBER Alert Plan-Lieutenant.

Sergeant

3. Notifies the Homicide Unit and the Public Affairs Unit if the child is abducted by an unknown suspect.

or

Notifies the Domestic Violence Unit and the Public Affairs Unit if the child is abducted by a known family member.

4. Contacts Communications by telephone.

5. Instructs the officer to complete the AMBER Alert Report (form 5.1.3) and Missing Persons Report.

Officer

6. Completes the AMBER Alert Report and Missing Persons Report.

7. Faxes the completed Missing Person Report and AMBER Alert Report to the Data Center.

8. Sends by fax or email (spddispatch@seattle.gov) the completed AMBER Alert Report to Communications.

15.130-PRO-3 Initiating Endangered/Missing Person Alert (EMPA)

Sergeant

1. Notifies an on-duty lieutenant if EMPA is needed.

Lieutenant

2. Determines if the criteria are met for the initiation of the EMPA.

Sergeant

3. Notifies the Public Affairs.

4. Contacts Communications by telephone.

Communications

5. Faxes an EMPA report to the Sergeant

Exception: If a patrol sergeant is unavailable, completes the EMPA report and faxes to WSP.

Sergeant

6. Instructs the officer to complete the EMPA Report.

Officer

7. Completes the EMPA Report and Missing Person Report.

8. Faxes the completed Missing Person Report and EMPA Report to the Data Center.

9. Sends by fax or email (spddispatch@seattle.gov) the completed EMPA Report to Communications.

15.130-TSK-1 Officer Investigating a Missing Child Incident

When responding to a missing child the officer:

1. Responds promptly to the location of the missing child.

2. Activates in-car video during approach to the location of the missing child.

3. Interviews parents/person who made the initial report and verifies the child is missing and the child’s custody status.

4. Determines if a multi-officer/unit response is required.

5. Obtains detailed description of the missing child, abductor, or vehicles, etc. and relays detailed descriptive information to Communications for broadcast.

6. Updates Communications with detailed information for broadcast.

7. Determines who last saw the child, and when and where they were last seen.

8. Identifies everyone who is at the scene.

9. Interviews the person(s) who last had contact with the child.

a. Interviews identified persons separately and asks: “What do you think happened to the child?”, documents their response.

10. Identifies child’s “zone of safety” (area that the child feels safe or comfortable in) for his/her age/developmental stage.

11. Determines if the incident involves a family or non-family abduction, endangered runaway, lost, injured, or otherwise missing child.

12. Determines if the criteria for an AMBER Alert has been met.

- See 15.130-PRO-2 Initiating an AMBER Alert Plan and 15.130-TSK-2 Lieutenant Initiating an AMBER Alert Plan

13. Requests consent to search the home and surrounding out-buildings and structures on the property.

a. Obtains the property owner’s signature on a Consent to Search form.

b. Treats the area as a possible crime scene.

14. Obtains a digital photograph(s) of the missing child and sends the digital photograph(s) to spdmpu@seattle.gov (Missing Persons Unit email) with the name of the missing person and the associated GO number.

or

Instructs the complainant to send digital photographs of the missing child to spdmpu@seattle.gov with the name of the missing child and the associated GO number.

or

If there is no digital picture, sends hard copy photographs to the Missing Persons Unit. 

15. Faxes the completed Missing Person Report to Data Center within 2 hours of completing the report.

16. Calls Data Center to confirm the report was received.

17. Gives missing person report to sergeant for approval and transmission to Data.

15.130-TSK-2 Lieutenant Initiating an AMBER Alert Plan

When initiating an AMBER Alert Plan the lieutenant:

1. Determines if the criteria are met for the initiation of the AMBER Alert Plan and initiates ICS. See 15.130-POL #7.

2. Cancels the AMBER Alert after verification of the child’s recovery.

3. Convenes a debrief session with involved personnel.

4. Completes an After Action Report and sends a copy to ICAC Section Captain.

15.130-TSK-3 Officer Investigating a Missing Adult

When investigating a missing adult, the officer:

1. Determines the category of the missing person and completes the Missing Person Report form.

2. Completes the narrative on a Continuation Sheet.

3. Obtains a digital photograph(s) of the missing adult and sends the digital photograph(s) to spdmpu@seattle.gov with the name of the missing adult and the associated GO number.

or

Instructs the complainant to send digital photographs of the missing adult to spdmpu@seattle.gov with the name of the missing adult and the associated GO number.

or

If there is no digital picture, sends hard copy photographs to the Missing Persons Unit.

4. Faxes the completed Missing Person Report to Data Center when practical.

5. Calls Data Center to confirm the report was received.