The Story This fictional story is a narration of an event that transpired during the fabled Democratic Republican National Convention event taking place in Miami, Florida. At 5:50 PM on Wednesday afternoon, a patrol officer for the City of Miami Police responded to a missing child report at the Intercontinental Hotel in Downton Miami. The officer met with DRNC delegates James, Camilla Jones and their two daughters; 16 year old Samantha and 13 year old Priscilla in the hotel lobby.
The family has not been able to locate their son, 8 year old James Junior aka J. J. ince 1:00 PM that same day. The officer requested a clothing description; however no one could offer one. Even though a clothing description was not available, the officer issued a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) for J. J. , and Camilla provided the officer with a recent photo through email. The officer asks Camilla if their son has ever been to a dentist, and if so, would she be able to obtain the dental records from the dentist’s office. Although taken a back, she tried to call their dentist’s office back home. J. J. has now been missing for over five hours. (DRNC, 2016)
Missing Child A’missing child’ is defined as the location of the child is unknown to his or her parents, guardian, or responsible party (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2011). When a report of a missing child comes up, law enforcement must prepare for the demanding responsibilities that wait ahead. The approach that a department or agency takes in response to a missing child report will ultimately determine whether or not the child will be recovered in a prompt manner, or if the child will remain missing for an extended period of time.
Reports of missing children can be amongst the most demanding, and intensely stimulating cases, law enforcement will ever come across (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2011). The policy of the agency is to thoroughly investigate all reports of missing children, and that every child missing will be considered at risk until there is substantial information that says otherwise (New Jersey State Police, 2007). In most cases, children who are not where their parents believe them to be are considered missing, but only for a short period of time as they tend to reappear on their own accord (Hanfland, Keppel, & Weis, 2012).
On the other hand, some children go missing against their own free will, meaning they have been taken or abducted. A large sum of these children, although have gone through a tremendously harrowing ordeal, are not seriously injured and are ultimately returned home alive; since many of them are taken by relatives or parents. However there is a small group of children who are taken by those with the intentions to make money or sexually abuse the child (Hanfland, Keppel, & Weis, 2012). Reports of missing children are crucial in the beginning hours of their disappearance.
A certain percentage of victims were reported missing throughout a specific time frame; 19% of the children were reported immediately, 25% were reported within one hour, 40% were reported within two hours, 68% were reported missing within 4. 5 hours, 86% were reported within 24 hours and 99% were reported 24 hours or more. Time delays in missing children cases are much more critical than in other types of investigations (Hanfland, Keppel, & Weis, 2012). The Procedure As there are so few nonfamily abductions that are witnessed, the police officer responding to the scene plays a large role in evaluating the child disappearance.
It is critical that there is no wasted time during the first couple hours of the case. The officer must be properly trained in case assessments and the departments written policies and procedures (Steidel, et al. , 1994). There are set protocols for the first responding officer at the scene of a missing child report, of which includes; the officer will consult with the parents or persons who reported the child missing, to conclude where, by whom, and at what time the child was last seen. The officer with then consult with the person or persons who last had interaction with the child.
Based on the existing information, the officer will make a preliminary decision as to what type of incident this case is, either (1) nonfamily abduction, (2) family abduction, (3) runaway, (4) lost, or (5) missing (U. S. Department of Justice, n. d. ). The officer will then obtain a comprehensive description of missing child and retrieve a photograph from the family, and in addition, the officer should secure the child’s medical and dental records. Finally the officer will issue a be on the lookout (BOLO) for the missing child (Steidel, et al. 1994). After the ‘Be on the Lookout bulletin is broadcasted to the local law enforcement agencies to alert them of the missing child, law enforcement is mandated to enter the child name in the National Crime Information Center, NCIC, registry of missing persons (OJJDP, 1998). Children who are under the age of 18 have no waiting period for entry. Another system that can help locate missing children is the MCAS, Missing Child Alter System, or TRAK, Technology for the Recovery of Adducted Kids.
This system is featured statewide and enables the rapid distribution of photographic and informational bulletins to all law enforcement agencies, as long as the system is implemented within the state of the child’s disappearance (New Jersey State Police, 2007). It is important that all responding officers identify and interview all people separately and record all information in a prompt and efficient manner.
The detective in charge of the investigation should request hotel security footage to see if there are any instances that can tell them where the child is; this however may require a earch warrant for the necessary footage. Investigators can request to search the hotel room where the child stayed to see if there are any indications of his whereabouts. The investigators should also prepare and update the bulletins for local and federal law enforcement agencies (OJJDP, 1998). The involvement of tracking dogs can be commissioned to help investigators form a trail on the child’s scent and officers should search convicted sex offender registry to see if any reside in the area of the hotel (OJJDP, 1998).
The question posed by the officer regarding dental records of the missing child, seemed slightly excessive at that point in the investigation. However, it is necessary information for the investigators if an unidentified body is discovered, investigators can match the dental records. At first it may seem that this line of questioning oversteps his boundaries and he is acting insensitively towards the parents, but in reality this information can help investigators in the long run.
They will add the child’s medical and dental information into the NCIC Missing Persons File that will be accessible to all agencies across the many states (OJJDP, 1998). Should an Amber Alert be issued? The AMBER alert is an abducted child alert system that works by cooperating with law enforcement and the media in the event of ab abduction (U. S. Department of Justice, 2015). Once this system is activated an immediate emergency bulletin is broadcasted to the public through a variety of media channels.
A request for an Amber alert activation must be permitted and authorized by means of the State Police’s Missing Persons & Child Exploitation Unit (New Jersey State Police, 2007). The deciding factor to broadcast an Amber alert deals with the risk level of the child. As stranger abductions are the most dangerous of situation for the child, and is therefore the primary reason for the AMBER Alert system. If the necessary information on the child is lacking, i. e. clothing description, it is likely seen as an abuse to the system, but at the same time each case must be evaluated individually to determine whether it should be broadcasted anyway (U. S. Department of Justice, 2015).
As a result, in this case even though there is a lack of clothing description, an Amber alter should be issued for the missing child. If by chance the child has not been located by 7 PM that evening, the DRNC Command Post should be notified, and all media outlets should be informed. The media can be important allies in the search for your missing child. It is essential that during the first 48 hours, the family needs to generate as much media attention as possible (OJJDP, 1998). The family should utilize rewarsa dna