15.130 - Missing Persons

Effective Date: 09/01/19

15.130-POL

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

2. Officers Will Determine if a Missing Person Report is Appropriate

Officers will document missing person incidents when:

- an un-emancipated juvenile is reported missing.

- a person of any age is missing for any period of time, and there is a reasonable concern for his or her safety.

Officers will not take a missing person report to assist:

- litigants in civil cases

- process servers,

- bill collectors,

- in compiling family histories, or

- in locating heirs.

3. Officers Will Draw a Report Number for Each Missing Person

If more than one person is missing in the same event, officers will draw additional report numbers so that each missing person is reported under a unique number.

4. Officers Will Complete Reports for Missing Persons

Officers will complete the following when documenting a missing person:

Missing Persons Report in Mark 43 (not the Incident/Offense Report) including full name, sex, race, date of birth, height, weight, hair color, and eye color.

Missing Person Supplement (form 5.1.2)

The preferred method is to use a printed Supplement and write in the information while with the reporting party. This form includes a place for a family member or next of kin to sign to authorize the release of dental and medical information. Officers may submit the form by scanning/attaching the supplement to the Mark 43 report or sending the paper copy to the Data Center. The form is available electronically in the Mark 43 Missing Persons Report for times when obtaining the signature is not possible.

Alert Data Entry Form (pdf) from Communications for AMBER Alerts or Endangered/Missing Person Alerts, if applicable.

5. Officers Will Notify Data Center of the Submitted Missing Persons Report

Officers will notify Data Center when the Missing Persons Report has been submitted in Mark 43. Officers will make the notification by:

- Sending a CAD Message to “DATAT” with the Report number (preferred), or

- Email to SPD_Data_Center@seattle.gov with the Report number.

Data Center will then enter the missing person into WACIC/NCIC.

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 Approves an AMBER Alert

A lieutenant approves an AMBER Alert to locate an abducted child when the following criteria are met.

- 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

See 15.130-PRO-2 Initiating an AMBER Alert or EMPA

After verification of the child’s recovery, a lieutenant approves cancelation of the AMBER Alert. If practical, the lieutenant will convene a debrief session with involved personnel.

The lieutenant will complete an After-Action Report and send a copy to the Violent Crimes Section Captain.

7. A Lieutenant Approves an Endangered/Missing Person Alert (EMPA)

A lieutenant approves the use of an EMPA when a person is missing under the following circumstances:

- 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(22)], 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, including associated vehicle information, if any.

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

See 15.130-PRO-2 Initiating an AMBER Alert or EMPA

8. The Missing Persons Detail Will Conduct the Follow-up Investigations of Missing Persons Reports

Unless otherwise instructed per this policy, any digital photographs of missing persons go to the Missing Persons Unit via attachment to the Mark 43 Missing Persons report or email at spdmpu@seattle.gov .

Officers may also instruct the complainant to send digital photographs of the missing adult to spdmpu@seattle.gov with the name of the missing adult and the associated Report Number.

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

15.130-PRO-1 Responding to a Missing Child

Communications

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

Officer

2. Responds promptly to the location of the missing child and activates in-car video during approach.

3. Interviews reporting party and verifies the child is missing and the child’s custody status.

4. Notifies sergeant of initial details and requests additional resources if necessary.

Sergeant

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

6. Coordinates patrol response.

Officer

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

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

9. Interviews person(s) who last had contact with the child 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 or her age/developmental stage.

11. Identifies everyone who is at the scene.

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

Sergeant

13. Determines with the officer if an AMBER Alert or EMPA will be needed. If so, see PRO-2 Initiating an AMBER Alert or EMPA.

Officer

14. 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.

15. Obtains digital photograph(s) of the missing child

16a. Attaches the photograph(s) to the Mark 43 Report or

16b. Emails the digital photograph(s) to the Missing Persons Unit at spdmpu@seattle.gov or

16c. 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 Report Number or

16d. Sends hard copy photograph(s) to the Missing Persons Unit if not digital.

17. Advises Data Center via CAD message or email when the Missing Persons Report is submitted in Mark 43, including the Report number.

 

15.130-PRO-2 Initiating an AMBER Alert or EMPA

Officer

1. Responds and gathers preliminary information to determine whether an AMBER Alert or EMPA is appropriate.

2. Relays preliminary information to a sergeant.

Sergeant

3. Notifies an on-duty lieutenant if an AMBER Alert is needed.

Lieutenant

4. Approves AMBER Alert or EMPA if the criteria are met and initiates ICS.

Sergeant

5. Notifies the Homicide Unit if a child is abducted by an unknown suspect and the Domestic Violence Unit if a child is abducted by a known family member.

6. Notifies the Public Affairs Unit of the AMBER Alert or EMPA.

7. Instructs the officer to complete the Alert Data Entry form from Communications, the Missing Persons Report, and the Missing Person Supplement.

8. Contacts Communications by telephone to request initiation of an AMBER Alert or EMPA.

Communications

9. Receives authorization and request via telephone to initiate the AMBER Alert or EMPA process.

10. Emails the Alert Data Entry form to the officer to be completed electronically.

Officer

11. Completes the Alert Data Entry form electronically.

12. Emails the Alert Data Entry form and digital photo if available to spddispatch@seattle.gov.

Communications

13.         Receives Alert Data Entry Form and Digital Photo if available from officer via email.

14.         Emails the completed Alert Data Entry Form immediately to AMBERAlertRequest@wsp.wa.gov. (For EMPAs, associated vehicle information is necessary.) and  any additional auxiliary notification entities as necessary

15.         Broadcasts the AMBER Alert or EMPA information city wide and over the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) talk-group.

16. Notifies patrol units city wide via CAD MDTALL Message and/or BOLO of the related call with full description and details from the Alert Data Entry form.

17. Sends an SPDALL Email including the necessary information.

18. Sends a Group1 Notification via the Alert Seattle Application as applicable.

Officer

19. Completes a Missing Persons Report and Missing Person Supplement.

20. Advises Data Center via CAD message or email when the Missing Persons Report is submitted in Mark 43, including the Report number .

Data Center

21.         Enters the missing person into WACIC/NCIC.