Summary: Reporting and Investigating Missing Persons

The Cleveland Division of Police remains dedicated to thoroughly investigating all reports of missing persons, guided by general police orders that were updated most recently in 2012. The enhanced policies now in place take in to account the recommendations of the Missing Persons and Sex Crimes Investigations Commission that was formed in 2010.

Members of the Division act promptly to locate persons reported missing, complete Record Management System (RMS) reports, and when mandated, enter Missing Person information into LEADS/NCIC within the mandated time period.  The Division of Police accepts all reports of missing persons and no time period is required.

The Cleveland Division of Police has a Missing Person Liaison assigned to the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center (NEORFC).  In addition, each District Commander has a detective in their Detective Bureau designated as that district’s Missing Person Investigator.  At the time the original report is taken, a search of the immediate area in which the person was last seen or was expected to be is conducted.  Officers will complete the NCIC forms in duplicate if any of the following categories apply: disability, endangered, involuntary, juvenile, catastrophe, young adult or a person who is missing with reasonable concern for their safety.

Federal law mandated (Title 42 USC Chapter 72 Section 5780) that NCIC information must be entered into LEADS/NCIC within two hours of an officer obtaining the minimum mandatory data for LEADS/NCIC entry.  Officers relay the required information to the Cleveland Division of Police Message Center for NCIC entry.  Officers are given a verbal “time stamp” of the time in which the information was provided and this time is noted in the RMS report.  In addition, officers have the reporting person complete a release form for missing persons.  This release form authorizes the release of photographs to the media/public, as well as the release of medical and dental records to investigators.

The NEORFC missing person liaison shall be responsible for making entries to and updating the missing person webpage. NEORFC will additionally report the missing person through their normal bulletin reports to Region II and the State Fusion Center (SAIC).

In cases of Missing Child/Missing Endangered/Elderly Alert, the District Commander will consult with the Deputy Chief of Field Operations to determine whether or not the media will be asked to air/print the information contained in the alert. The Deputy Chief of Field Operations will communicate that decision to the Public Information Officer. The Field Operations Deputy Chief or designee shall make further notifications up the chain of command as circumstances dictate.  The Deputy Chief of Special Operations shall make the determination to activate the Combined Abduction Response Team (CART) and proceed accordingly.  This is further detailed in the Missing Persons GPO.

The person making the original missing persons report is advised during the initial contact that they are to contact police immediately upon the missing person’s return.