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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

0850.39 Missing, Runaway, Lost or Disoriented Persons

850.39   MISSING, RUNAWAY, LOST OR DISORIENTED PERSONS

Refer:    

  • DIR 640.31 Investigations, Custodial Interference
  • DIR 850.10  Custody, Civil Holds
  • DIR 850.20  Mental Health Crises Response
  • DIR 850.30  Juveniles, Custody
  • DIR 940.00 After Action Reports and Operations Orders
  • BOEC Operations SOP 10.20.020 Amber Alert Plan (BOEC)

 

POLICY (850.39)

The Bureau will act promptly to investigate reports of missing, runaway, lost and/or disoriented persons in a sensitive and proactive manner.

PROCEDURE (850.39)

Directive Specific Definitions

Activation: To begin or start PENS by an authorized individual.

Amber Alert program: A statewide coordinated and cooperative notification and information-gathering system specifically employed to aid in the resolution of child abduction or suspected child abduction incidents by broadcasting critical information to the media and the public.

Closure message: A recorded message that is delivered using PENS to alert the receiving parties that the emergency situation no longer exists.

MPERS:  Missing Persons detail.

Outgoing message: A recorded voice message that will be delivered using PENS to alert the receiving parties about the emergency situation.

PENS operator: The person contacted to activate PENS.

Portland Emergency Notification System (PENS): An automated telephone system used to notify citizens of an emergency situation or police action in their area.

Service Provider: The company taking activation information, either from computer or voice, and completes the calling.

Missing Persons/Runaway Juveniles (850.39)

Calls regarding missing persons or runaway juveniles will be channeled to BOEC call takers. They will determine if a car will be dispatched to take a report or if the report will be taken by telephone. A car will be dispatched if the missing person:

a.  Is in the company of another person under circumstance indicating that the disappearance was not voluntary or in the company of another person considered dangerous to the missing person.

b.  Because of age, reported suicidal tendencies, physical or mental defect, there is a possibility of danger to the missing person or others.

c.  Has been involved with the Reporting Party in any previously reported or suspected domestic violence or abuse (i.e., PPDS, LEDS/NCIC, or CAD history).

d.  Is missing under suspicious circumstances.

e.  Is a juvenile and has no history of runaway.

All reports of Missing Persons will require mandatory reporting.  If a member declines a Missing Person report for any reason, including not meeting the specified criteria, the member shall complete a Special Report with a subject heading Missing Person Report Declined.

a.  There is no waiting period before accepting a report on a missing person. All juvenile/runaway and at-risk missing persons reports should be taken immediately.

b.  Federal law prohibits any waiting period for entry of a missing child report. If an incident meets the criteria, a report will be completed without delay. Missing persons are to be documented on an Investigative Report.

c.  The Records Division (Records)/Teletype will be notified, as soon as practical, to facilitate having the missing person entered into LEDS/NCIC. It is possible to relay this information to teletype by radio using NE net.

d.  Members should assign separate case numbers for each reported missing person, except in custodial interference cases or juvenile/runaway cases when the missing juvenile or runaway leaves with her own infant child. In these cases, all involved persons would be reported on the same report.

e.  Members should advise the reporting party of the responsibility to contact the non-emergency number as soon as possible when the missing person is no longer missing (unless the missing person is contacted or returned by police, who would generate a Special Report and teletype notification.

f.   When a member clears a missing person report, the reporting member will contact Records/Teletype, as soon as practical, to have the person removed from LEDS/NCIC. It is possible to relay this information to teletype by radio using the NE net. The member will complete a Special Report documenting the clearance.

g.  Members will not clear any Missing Person report merely by the reporting party calling over the phone to request the clearance, when there has been any previously reported or suspected history of domestic violence or abuse between the reporting party and the missing person (i.e., PPDS, LEDS/NCIC or CAD history).

h.  Members should either attempt to make contact with the missing person face-to-face or should make reasonable attempts to speak with the missing person over the phone, verifying the missing person’s identity and welfare.

i.   Members may also rely on witness statements in verifying the missing person’s welfare when direct contact with the missing person is not reasonable.

Lost, Disoriented or Developmentally Disabled Persons (850.39)

Members may be called upon to assist lost, disoriented or developmentally disabled adults in seeking their places of residence or shelter care facilities. In such situations, members will make every reasonable effort to locate the person’s residence. This should include a PPDS check for a Disability Alert Flag (DAF). The DAF will be found under the PPDS MISC INFO heading, and indicates the presence of a PPDS file containing the names and telephone numbers of contact person(s) for certain developmentally disabled individuals. If those efforts fail, the member should consider contacting the Detective Division (Detectives), Missing Persons Detail (MPERS). MPERS maintains a database of reported chronic lost, disoriented or developmentally disabled persons, which may assist the member in identifying a person if the person’s residence or an emergency contact cannot be located. Members should attempt to obtain shelter care for the person.

Following the transfer of the person to a facility, the member will complete a Special report noting the location or facility of final disposition. The Special Report will be forwarded to Records. Records will route a copy to MPERS.

Missing Adults or Juveniles Under Suspicious Circumstances (850.39)

In cases where the reported missing person is an adult or juvenile missing under suspicious circumstances, the following procedure will be initiated:

a.  The investigating member will immediately advise a supervisor of the circumstances.

b.  If, after reviewing the circumstances, the supervisor believes it necessary, the description of the missing person will be immediately broadcast.

c.  The supervisor will determine whether a block by block search is necessary.

d.  If it is determined that a block by block search is necessary, the supervisor will notify the relief commander who will assign additional members as needed.

e.  The supervisor will notify the Detective Division’s (Detectives) Homicide Detail supervisor as soon as possible.

f.   The involved precinct will retain investigative responsibility unless foul play is reasonably suspected.

g.  If foul play is reasonably suspected, the Homicide Detail will assume control of the investigation.

h.  The supervisor and the Homicide Detail supervisor will evaluate whether an activation of the Portland Emergency Notification System (PENS) is appropriate.

1.  Refer to the PENS section of this Directive for further details.

i.   The investigating member will notify Records as soon as practical, with information on the missing person for LEDS/NCIC data entry. It is possible to relay this information to Teletype by radio using NE net.

j.   Copies of all associated reports should be faxed or, if no fax is available, sent via Interoffice Mail to the Detectives MPERS, prior to the end of shift.

k.  Responding members should be aware that, in suspicious circumstances, the location the person is missing from may be a crime scene.

Abducted or Suspected Abducted Adults or Juveniles (850.39)

In cases where the reported missing person has been abducted or is suspected to have been abducted, the following procedure will be initiated:

a.  The investigating member will immediately advise a supervisor of the circumstances.

b.  If, after reviewing the circumstances, the supervisor believes it is necessary, the description of the missing person will be immediately broadcast.

c.  The supervisor will notify the Detectives Homicide detail supervisor as soon as possible.

d.  If abduction is suspected, the Homicide Detail will respond to the scene and assume control of the investigation.

e.  The supervisor and Homicide Detail supervisor will make a determination as to whether a block-by-block search is necessary.

f.   If it is determined that a block-by-block search is necessary the supervisor will notify the relief commander who will assign additional members as needed.

g.  If the abducted or suspected abducted person is a juvenile (17 years of age or younger) the detective or other person designated by the Homicide Detail supervisor will evaluate whether the abduction meets the specific criteria for an Amber Alert.

1.  Refer to the Amber Alert (850.39) section.

h.  The Homicide Detail supervisor, or his designee, will evaluate whether an activation of PENS is appropriate.

1.  Refer to the PENS (850.39) section of this Directive for further details.

i.   The investigating member will notify Records as soon as possible with information on the missing person for entry into LEDS/NCIC. Information relating to an abducted or suspected abducted person will not be transmitted to Records/Teletype over any of the radio broadcast nets, due to the sensitive nature of the information.

j.   Responding members should be aware that, in an abduction or suspected abduction case, the location the person is missing from may be a crime scene.

Missing Child, No Suspicious Circumstances (850.39)

In cases where a child is reported missing, but there are no suspicious circumstances involved:

a.  The investigating member will thoroughly search the location from where the child is reported missing, including bedrooms, closets, front and back yards, outbuildings and other areas where a child might be hiding. If the child is not located, the investigating member will immediately advise a supervisor of the circumstances.

b.  The supervisor will determine if a block-by-block search is necessary.

c.  If it is determined that a block-by-block search is necessary, the supervisor will notify the relief commander who will assign additional members as needed.

d.  The involved precinct will retain investigative responsibility as long as foul play is not reasonably suspected and there are no apparent suspicious circumstances.

e.  The supervisor will evaluate the circumstances to determine if activation of PENS is appropriate.

1.  Refer to the PENS (850.39) section of this Directive for further details.

f.   If the child is not located within a reasonable period of time, the supervisor will contact the Detectives Homicide Detail supervisor.

g.  The Homicide Detail supervisor or designee will respond to the scene to provide assistance to the incident supervisor. Upon request of the RU manager, the Homicide Detail will assume command of the incident.

h.  The investigating member will notify Records, as soon as practical, with information on the missing person for LEDS/NCIC data entry. It is possible to relay this information to Teletype by radio using NE net.

Missing Person is a Juvenile Runaway (850.39)

In cases where the reported missing person is a juvenile runaway, the following procedure will be initiated:

a.  Members will make a notation in the distribution box of the report form, directing a copy to the Family Services Division (FSD). Records will distribute a copy of the report(s) to the Juvenile Section of FSD. FSD will coordinate and conduct follow-up investigations on Juvenile Missing/ Runaway reports.

AMBER Alert (850.39)

An Amber Alert System (AAS) activation shall only be authorized under the following circumstances:

a.  There is reasonable belief that an abduction occurred, and the victim is a  juvenile (i.e., 17 years of age or younger).

b.  There is articulable information as to why the child is in danger of imminent bodily harm or death.

c.  There is adequate descriptive information available to believe that dissemination of that information to the public could help locate the juvenile, or the suspect or the suspect vehicle.

The AAS is not to be used in cases involving parental abduction (Custodial Interference), unless the juvenile is believed to be in imminent danger of bodily harm or death.

The AAS will only be activated after a member has had direct contact with a reporting party. Activation will not be based solely on a report to BOEC by a reporting party.

Authorization for an Amber Alert must be made directly to BOEC. Requests will be made by telephone, or in person, but not over the radio broadcast net. Members making a request will contact the BOEC Dispatch Coordinator (DC).

The AAS may be authorized only by a sworn member with a rank of sergeant, detective or above, or by a member acting under specific direction from a sworn member with a rank of sergeant, detective or above.

Member Responsibilities, Amber Alert (850.39)

a.  BOEC:

1.  The Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) is responsible for coordinating an AMBER Alert. The DC will refer to and implement the current SOP 10.20.020 for an Amber Alert when an authorization for one is received.

b.  The member making the request:

1.  The member calling the DC with an authorization for an Amber Alert will provide the DC with the following information on the juvenile:

a)  Name.

b)  Approximate age (date of birth if available).

c)  Complete physical description (including clothing, scars, marks and tattoos).

d)  Complete physical description of the suspect(s) (including clothing. 

e)  Description of suspect vehicle or other mode of transportation.

f)   Direction of travel.

g)  Description of the abduction (brief summary of what occurred).

h)  Additional information (officer safety, child endangered, etc.).

Until the Amber Alert activation request has been processed by BOEC, and the Amber Alert has been made public, no references to the Amber Alert will be made over any radio broadcast net.

Activation of the Amber Alert system does not, in any way, relieve members of any current response or investigative responsibility.

Updating an Amber Alert (850.39)

An AAS activation is a time consuming and labor intensive procedure that will tax the capabilities of BOEC. Therefore, an Amber Alert shall be authorized only as long as it is deemed a productive and useful tool in attempting to locate the abducted child. The lead detective or supervisor involved with the investigation will be responsible for updates to and/or deactivation of the Amber Alert.

Notification and Reporting Requirements for an Amber Alert (850.39)

The supervisor granting the authorization for the AAS activation will ensure that the following notifications are made:

a.  Prompt notification (through channels) to the appropriate Branch chief.

b.  The Public Information Officer (PIO). This will ensure a properly managed media response and will assist with the dissemination of appropriate and accurate information.

An After Action Report will be completed, and forwarded through channels to the appropriate Branch chief, for every Amber Alert activation. The After Action Report will be completed by the incident supervisor in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the notification system, and to provide an overview of the time and resources expanded to complete the investigation.

Portland Emergency Notification System (PENS) (850.39)

PENS delivers a recorded voice message to all available home-based phones lines within a targeted geographical area. PENS does not send TTY/TDD messages (for the hearing impaired). TTY/TDD users may still need to be contacted in person.

PENS is used to alert citizens of a life-threatening or property threatening incident in their area (i.e., police searching for a missing child, flood information). PENS will only be used from 0700 to 2200 hours for situations involving missing and/or suspicious persons; as its effectiveness is diminished during the hours the receiving parties will be asleep. PENS will be used at all hours for situations involving severe natural disasters and national emergencies.

Activation of PENS (850.39)

a.  The PENS server provider is located in the state of Louisiana, and should be used with discretion due to cost.

b.  PENS will be activated only by a RU manager or his/her designee. The designee must be a sworn member with a rank of sergeant or above.

c.  PENS may be activated by calling one of the following locations:

1.  The Police Information and Referral line (Police I&R) from 0700-2200 Monday through Friday.

2.  If the Police I&R is closed, a mobile command center at the scene may be used; provided it is equipped with a laptop computer.

3.  If the Police I&R is closed, and a mobile command center with a laptop computer is not available, the activation may be made directly to the service provider via phone. The server provider is First Call,. This option will only be used if the other options are not available, and/or the tactical situation warrants it.

d.  PENS takes time to organize so, if there is a chance PENS will be activated, the RU manager or designee should let the PENS operator know as soon as possible.

e.  The RU manager or designee activates PENS by calling the appropriate PENS operator, and requesting a PENS activation.

f.   The RU manager or designee requesting the activation will provide the following information to the PENS operator:

1.  Their name.

2.  A fax number where the report is to be sent if different than the preset one.

3.  Define the Geographical area to be notified. This may be done in one of four ways:

a)  Using a block grid (as if setting up a perimeter for a block search).

b)  By geographical boundaries such as freeways or rivers.

c)  By a combination of block grids and geographical boundaries. d)  By designating a radius from a specific address.

4.  Fax a typed copy of the outgoing message to the PENS operator.

a)  Keep the outgoing message as short as possible, since longer messages require more time and resources to complete.

b)  If a fax is not available, the PENS operator will take the outgoing message, verbally over the phone; but it may delay the activation of PENS.

Closure of PENS (850.39)

a.  At the conclusion of the incident, the shift commander will re-contact the PENS operator to activate a closure message.

b.  Refer to the incident number to begin the closure routine.

c.  The closure message will be sent to the phone numbers that received the outgoing message.

d.  The closure message should be informative to the public, and, if possible, explain the reason for the original message. The message should be brief and to the point while thanking the citizens for their cooperation.

e.  The PIO can assist in the formation of the message, and keep the information coordinated.

f.   If the incident is concluded between 2200 and 0700 hours, the PIO can forward the closure message through the local media instead of incurring the cost of PENS.

Reporting Requirements of Using PENS

The on-scene supervisor will complete an After Action Report at the conclusion of the PENS incident. The After Action Report will include, but is not limited to, the following information:

a.  Type of incident.

b.  Time of day.

c.  Area covered by the activation (i.e., 10 block radius from 123 NE Anywhere street).

d.  Did the message system save him/her from deploying more officers? If not, why?

e.  In his/her opinion did the system work well in the situation? If not, why?

Hospital Requests for Fingerprinting/Photographing of Incapacitated Subjects (850.39)

If a member receives a request from a local hospital for assistance in attempting to identify a subject who is currently in the hospital’s care, through fingerprinting and/or photographing of the subject, and for whom, no other reasonable means of identifying the person in a timely manner is available, the member may assist in facilitating the request under the following circumstances:

a.  The request must originate from a local, licensed hospital, and must be only for the purposes of attempting to identify a subject who is currently unconscious, medically incapacitated or otherwise incapable of communicating with hospital staff.

b.  The request must be related to the hospital’s attempts to identify the subject in order to more specifically address the person’s emergent medical condition, notify next-of-kin, or identify a possible missing person.

c.  The request must be approved by a member with the rank of sergeant, detective or above.

Members may use portable IBIS fingerprint technology, in addition to traditional fingerprinting techniques and photography, in order to identify subjects meeting the above criteria, provided the inquiry is not intended for criminal investigative purposes.

If an inquiry results in the positive identification of a subject, either by fingerprint (verified by a qualified member of the Forensics Evidence Division) or by photograph (verified by the officer), the member may provide the identified subject’s information to the hospital. This includes:

a.  Name, date of birth, physical descriptors.

b.  Known addresses and phone numbers.

c.  Known family members and family contact information.

d.  Member’s responsibility in attempting to assist a hospital in identifying a person is limited to providing the hospital the above information, when available.

Members will check the subject in LEDS/NCIC to determine if the subject has been entered as a Missing Person.

a.  If a member identifies a subject as a Missing Person, the member will notify the originating agency of the subject’s status, by contacting PPB teletype to clear or send a “locate” on the Missing Person hit.

b.  Members will not contact family members or associates of the subject directly, unless specifically authorized by a Missing Persons Unit (MPERS) detective.

Any time a member responds to a hospital and photographs and/or fingerprints any individual at the request of hospital staff, the member will:

a.  Write a Special Report documenting the name and contact information of the staff member making the request, the reason for the request, the member’s actions taken and the results.

b.  The report shall be sent to the Records Division and will be forwarded to MPERS.

c.  Members will fax a copy of the report to MPERS and leave a detailed message for a MPERS detective prior to the end of shift for routine results, or immediately contact a MPERS detective, or the On-Call Homicide supervisor, via BOEC, if the situation may involve a high-profile case or may necessitate immediate detective involvement.