01-13-2009, 09:51 PM
Title 23 - Law Enforcement and Public Safety
SOUTH CAROLINA LAW-ENFORCEMENT DIVISION
SECTION 23-3-200. Creation of Center; use of FBI file.
SECTION 23-3-10. Creation, chief and personnel of South Carolina Law-Enforcement Division.
There is created the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The division must be headed by a chief appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate and shall hold office until his successor is appointed and qualified. The term of the chief is six years. On the effective date of the provisions of this section providing for a six-year term for the chief, a successor to the chief serving on this date must be appointed as provided herein. Nothing herein prevents the chief serving on this date from being reappointed to additional six-year terms. The chief may only be removed pursuant to the provisions of Section 1-3-240 of the 1976 Code. The agents and officers of the division must be commissioned by the Governor upon the recommendation of the chief. The agents and officers shall have that rank or title as may be provided under the State Employees Classification System. The chief may appoint other personnel considered necessary and as provided for in the annual appropriations act. All agents and officers commissioned by the Governor are subject to discharge for cause which must be subject to review as is now provided by law for other state employees.
SECTION 23-3-15. Additional jurisdiction, authority and responsibilities; exclusive authority; other agencies or departments to assist SLED.
(A) In addition to those authorities and responsibilities set forth in this chapter, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division shall have specific and exclusive jurisdiction and authority statewide, on behalf of the State, in matters including but not limited to the following functions and activities:
(1) the investigation of organized criminal activities or combined state-federal interstate criminal activities, all general criminal investigations, arson investigation and emergency event management pertaining to explosive devices;
(2) the maintenance and operation of a statewide comprehensive forensic sciences laboratory;
(3) covert investigation of illegal activities pertaining to and the interdiction of narcotics and other illicit substances;
(4) operation and maintenance of a central, statewide criminal justice data base and data communication system;
(5) establishment and operation of highly specialized, tactical response law enforcement units within the division;
(6) operation and regulation of state polygraph examination services;
(7) law enforcement, regulation enforcement, and inspections under Title 61;
(8) the coordination of counter terrorism efforts, including prevention against, preparation for, response to, and crisis management of acts of terrorism, in or affecting this State; coordination of federal grants associated with homeland security; creation of councils appropriate to its mission; and service as the Governor's representative to the United States Department of Homeland Security; and
(9) other activities not inconsistent with the mission of the division or otherwise proscribed by law.
(B) No other state agency or department having personnel who are commissioned law enforcement officers may engage in any of the activities herein set forth without the express permission of the Chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Any state agencies or departments having commissioned law enforcement personnel shall assist the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division at any time the Chief of SLED requests assistance in carrying out the statutory duties of the division.
(C) The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is responsible for the enforcement of all criminal laws, misdemeanors, and felonies, and civil laws, the violation of which may result in a fine or other penalty being assessed against the violator, which laws are now enforced by law enforcement personnel employed by and under the jurisdiction of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. These civil and criminal laws also include regulations and ordinances pertinent thereto. The duties, functions, and powers of these law enforcement personnel are devolved upon the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the law enforcement personnel of this agency on the effective date of this section shall perform their duties and functions under the auspices of the division and shall become a part of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in the manner provided by law.
MISSING PERSON INFORMATION CENTER
There is created a Missing Person Information Center, hereinafter referred to as MPIC, to be located in Columbia as a part of the State Law Enforcement Division. The purpose of the MPIC is to serve as a central repository for information regarding missing persons and missing and exploited children, with special emphasis on missing children. The MPIC shall utilize the Federal Bureau of Investigation/National Crime Information Center's missing person computerized file through the use of the State Law Enforcement Division's law enforcement communications network. This center is hereinafter referred to as FBI/NCIC.
SECTION 23-3-210. Definitions.
For the purposes of this article:
(1) "Missing child" means any individual who is under the age of seventeen years whose temporary or permanent residence is in South Carolina, or is believed to be in South Carolina, whose location has not been determined, and who has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.
(2) "Missing person" means any individual who is seventeen years of age or older, whose temporary or permanent residence is in South Carolina, or is believed to be in South Carolina, whose location has not been determined, and who has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.
(3) "Missing person report" is a report prepared on a prescribed form for transmitting information about a missing person or a missing child to a law enforcement agency.
(4) "Exploited children" are children under the age of eighteen who are placed in positions where they were taken advantage of sexually because of their inability to cognitively assess or resist the contact or who were placed into these positions because of their dependency upon the offender.
SECTION 23-3-220. Chief of State Law Enforcement Division, generally; employees.
The MPIC is under the direction of the Chief of the State Law Enforcement Division and may be organized and structured in a manner as the Chief deems appropriate to ensure that the objectives of the MPIC are achieved. The Chief may employ those MPIC personnel as the General Assembly may authorize and provide funding for.
SECTION 23-3-230. Promulgation of regulations.
The MPIC shall promulgate regulations prescribing:
(a) procedures for accepting and disseminating information maintained at the MPIC;
(b) the confidentiality of the data and information, including the missing person report, maintained by the MPIC;
(c) the proper disposition of all obsolete data, including the missing person report; provided, data for an individual who has reached the age of eighteen and remains missing must be preserved;
(d) procedures allowing a communication link with the State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI/NCIC's missing person file to ensure compliance with FBI/NCIC policies;
(e) forms, including but not limited to a missing person report, considered necessary for the efficient and proper operation of the MPIC.
SECTION 23-3-240. Submission of missing person reports to Center.
Any parent, spouse, guardian, legal custodian, or public or private agency or entity may submit a missing person report to the MPIC on any missing child or missing person, regardless of the circumstances, after having first submitted a missing person report on the individual to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction of the area in which the individual became or is believed to have become missing, regardless of the circumstances.
SECTION 23-3-250. Dissemination of missing persons data by law enforcement agencies.
A law enforcement agency, upon receipt of a missing person report by a parent, spouse, guardian, legal custodian, or public or private agency or entity, shall immediately make arrangements for the entry of data about the missing person or missing child into the national missing persons file in accordance with criteria set forth by the FBI/NCIC, immediately inform all of its on-duty law enforcement officers of the missing person report, initiate a statewide broadcast to all other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the individual, and transmit a copy of the report to the MPIC.
SECTION 23-3-260. Responsibilities of Center.
The MPIC shall:
(a) Assist local law enforcement agencies with entering data about missing persons or missing children into the national missing persons file, ensure that proper entry criteria have been met as set forth by the FBI/NCIC, and confirm entry of the data about the missing persons or missing children.
(b) Utilize both the intrastate communication network and the FBI/NCIC system in locating missing persons or missing children.
(c) Collect, process, maintain, and disseminate information on missing and exploited children or missing persons.
(d) Provide for a centralized distribution center for emergency flyers on missing persons or missing children.
(e) Formulate and distribute, both intrastate and interstate, a monthly bulletin of missing persons and missing children from South Carolina to law enforcement agencies.
(f) Develop, maintain, and disseminate a directory of resources available for assistance to local, state, and federal agencies and entities, public and private organizations, and others in locating a missing person or missing child.
(g) Provide news media, including, but not limited to, television and radio stations and newspapers, with pertinent information on missing persons and missing children on a regularly scheduled basis.
(h) Develop and disseminate recommended procedures and forms for the collection of identifying information, including but not limited to bloodtyping, fingerprinting, and dental charting, which are compatible with criteria established by the FBI/NCIC.
(i) Maintain all available information on any missing person or missing child including, but not limited to, the missing person report, fingerprints, blood types, dental information, and photographs. The identifying information maintained at the MPIC must be kept confidential, except as may be otherwise provided in this article.
(j) Conduct statewide training sessions and seminars relative to missing and exploited children and missing persons, including, but not limited to, methods to enhance the locating of missing children and missing persons and training regarding the operation of the MPIC.
(k) In the case of locating an individual who had previously been reported as being a missing person or missing child, provide referrals for counseling or other assistance or aid to the individual or the individual's family, if the individual or his family desires counseling or other assistance or aid.
(l) Provide a program of support and technical assistance for community-based efforts, especially in the case of children, to prevent disappearances and to ensure self-protection.
SECTION 23-3-270. Notification requirements when missing person located.
Any parent, spouse, guardian, legal custodian, or public or private agency or entity who submits a missing person report to a law enforcement agency or to the MPIC, after having first submitted the missing person report to the appropriate law enforcement agency, shall immediately notify the law enforcement agency and the MPIC of any individual whose location has been determined. The MPIC shall instigate and confirm the deletion of the individual's records from the FBI/NCIC's missing person file, as long as there are no grounds for criminal prosecution, and follow up with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction of the records.
SECTION 23-3-280. Release of information.
The following may make inquiries of, and receive data or information from, the MPIC:
(a) Any police, law enforcement, or criminal justice agency investigating a report of a missing or unidentified person or child, whether living or deceased.
(b) A court, upon a finding by the court that access to the data, information, or records of the MPIC may be necessary for the determination of an issue before the court.
(c) Any solicitor of a judicial circuit in this State or the solicitor's designee or representative.
(d) Any person engaged in bona fide research when approved by the Chief; provided, no names or addresses may be supplied to this person.
SECTION 23-3-290. Fees.
The MPIC may not charge any fee for inquiries made to it pursuant to this article.
SECTION 23-3-300. Toll-free phone line; instructions to callers; communication with law enforcement agencies.
The MPIC shall provide a toll-free telephone line for anyone to report the disappearance of any individual or the sighting of any missing child or missing person. MPIC personnel shall instruct the caller, in the case of a report concerning the disappearance of an individual, of the requirements contained in Section 23-3-240 of first having to submit a missing person report on the individual to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction of the area in which the individual became or is believed to have become missing. Any law enforcement agency may retrieve information imparted to the MPIC by means of this phone line. The MPIC must directly communicate any report of a sighting of a missing person or a missing child to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in the area of disappearance or sighting.
SECTION 23-3-310. Improper release of information; penalty.
Any person who knowingly and wilfully releases, or authorizes the release of, any data, information, or records maintained or possessed by the MPIC to any agency, entity, or person other than as specifically permitted by this article or in violation of any regulation promulgated by the MPIC is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment of not less than thirty days nor more than ninety days, or both.
SECTION 23-3-320. Missing Person Task Force.
There is created a Missing Person Task Force composed of five members appointed by the Governor. The Governor shall designate a member as chairman. The Task Force shall study information gathered from the MPIC and the FBI/NCIC in order to make long-range plans concerning the gathering, maintaining, and processing of information and data on missing persons and missing children, concerning the effectiveness of efforts to determine the whereabouts of missing persons and missing children through the efforts of the MPIC, and concerning related matters. The Task Force shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Children on or before July 1, 1986. After submission of this report, the Missing Person Task Force is dissolved. The Task Force may meet as frequently as its chairman or a majority of its members considers necessary. Members of the Task Force are allowed the usual mileage, per diem, and subsistence as provided by law for members of state boards, committees, and commission.
01-13-2009, 11:34 PM
TITLE 20. DOMESTIC RELATIONS
CHAPTER 7. CHILDREN'S CODE
ARTICLE 3. LEGAL STATUS OF CHILDREN SUBARTICLE 1. PARENT-HILD RELATIONSHIP (applicable sections)
(D) Immediately after receiving notice from a hospital or hospital outpatient facility pursuant to subsection (C), the department shall contact the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for assistance in assuring that the infant is not a missing infant. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division shall treat the request as ongoing for a period of thirty days and shall contact the department if a missing infant report is received that might relate to the infant.
ARTICLE 7. INTAKE SUBARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS (applicable sections)
Children's Advocacy Centers; services provided; standards of care; release of records. [SC ST SEC 20-7-495]
(3) Children's Advocacy Center records must be released to the Department of Social Services for purposes of investigation, assessment of allegations of child abuse or neglect, and provision of treatment services to the children or their families. The records must be released to law enforcement agencies and circuit solicitors or their agents who are:
(d) attempting to locate a missing child.
SECTION 20-7-690. Confidentiality of reports and records; penalties. [SC ST SEC 20-7-690]
(4) a law enforcement agency investigating or prosecuting known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child or any other crime against a child, attempting to locate a missing child, investigating or prosecuting the death of a child, or investigating or prosecuting any other crime established in or associated with activities authorized under this article;
SUBARTICLE 19. JUVENILE RECORDS (applicable section)
(I) The department may fingerprint and photograph a child upon the filing of a petition, release from detention, release on house arrest, or commitment to a juvenile correctional institution. Fingerprints and photographs taken by the department remain confidential and must not be transmitted to the State Law Enforcement Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or another agency or person, except for the purpose of:
(2) assisting the Missing Persons Information Center in the location or identification of a missing or runaway child;
(F) A child charged with any offense may be photographed by the law enforcement agency that takes the child into custody. If the child is taken into secure custody and detained, the detention facility must photograph the child upon admission. These photographs may only be disseminated for criminal justice purposes or to assist the Missing Persons Information Center in the location or identification of a missing or runaway child.
(J) The fingerprint records of a child adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would carry a maximum term of imprisonment of five years or more if committed by an adult must be provided by the State Law Enforcement Division or the law enforcement agency who took the child into custody to a law enforcement agency upon request by that agency for criminal justice purposes or to assist the Missing Person Information Center in the location or identification of a missing or runaway child.
TITLE 62. SOUTH CAROLINA PROBATE CODE
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS, DEFINITIONS, AND PROBATE JURISDICTION OF COURT
PART 1. SHORT TITLE, CONSTRUCTION, GENERAL PROVISIONS (applicable sections)
SECTION 62-1-102. Purposes; rule of construction. [SC ST SEC 62-1-102]
... (b) The underlying purposes and policies of this Code are:
(1) to simplify and clarify the law concerning the affairs of decedents, missing persons, protected persons, minors, and incapacitated persons.
SECTION 62-1-107. Evidence as to death or status. [SC ST SEC 62-1-107]
(2) A certified or authenticated copy of any record or report of a governmental agency, domestic or foreign, that a person is missing, detained, dead, or alive is prima facie evidence of the status and of the dates, circumstances, and places disclosed by the record or report.
(3) A person who is absent for a continuous period of five years, during which he has not been heard from, and whose absence is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search or inquiry, is presumed to be dead. His death is presumed to have occurred at the end of the period unless there is sufficient evidence for determining that death occurred earlier.
01-13-2009, 11:49 PM
South Carolina Amber Alert
The South Carolina Amber Alert Plan will be activated when an abduction is reported and the investigation reveals:
• 1. The child is 17 years old or younger, and the police believes the child is in immediate danger.
• 2. The individual is 17 years old or older, if the person possesses a proven physical or mental disability that would place him/her at a greater risk. This does not include alzheimer victims.
• 3. Parental or family abductions when the child is 16 years or younger and the investigation determines the child’s life is in immediate danger.
• 4. All other possibilities have been reasonably excluded.
Each law enforcement agency will designate two to three ranking officers who will have the sole authority to evaluate the investigating officer’s report regarding the abduction. If the abduction meets the criteria for activation of the Amber Alert Plan, only the Amber Alert’s designated officer may activate the plan.
The designated officer activates the Amber Alert Plan by notifying the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), of the abduction and all pertinent descriptive information available from the initial investigation. This notification will be made by calling the state’s missing person clearinghouse.
Upon receiving the described information from the local designated officer, SLED will disseminate the information to all participating radio and television stations by three methods: (1) broadcast fax; (2) e- mail; and (3) by activating the Emergency Alert System (EAS). EAS is the public notification system used to alert the public for weather and other emergencies.
Abduction - a child is involuntarily missing from the person(s) having care-taking responsibility for the child, or when an eye witness can confirm the abduction and provide specific descriptive information concerning the abducted child, the person(s) taking the child, a car, and direction of travel, or there exists specific evidence that the child’s disappearance is not voluntary.
Child - a person under 17 years of age.
Missing Person - a person 17 years or older with a known or proved physical or mental disability that would place him/her at a greater risk. This does not include Alzheimers victims.
Updates - any new information to be made available through SLED and the Amber Alert system must be made by the agency that activated the system.
Cancellation - only the originating agency can cancel an Amber Alert.
Activation Process for the Amber Alert Plan
Only Amber Alert designated officers who have been properly training and certified by the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. The designated officer may activate the alert plan by calling SLED’s missing persons central clearing house. SLED will accept the information and will disseminate the information by fax, e-mail, and activation of the EAS broadcasting system. SLED will use a specially designed document for the broadcast fax which must include a special code that will confirm to the broadcast community that the SLED fax is genuine. This code will change on a time frame agreed upon by SLED and the broadcasters. All relevant information regarding the abduction should be entered on NCIC at the earliest possible time. Finally, SLED will notify the S.C. Department of Transportation and giving the appropriate information to DOT for display on their highway traffic advisory signs.
Broadcast to the Public
All participating radio and television stations will broadcast the alert that a child or abducted person is missing. They will broadcast the relevant information received from SLED which should include:
• 1. An abduction has been reported;
• 2. Where and when the abduction occurred;
• 3. A description of the child;
• 4. A description of the abductor;
• 5. A description of the vehicle involved if any;
• 6. Last known direction of travel;
• 7. Notification to the public to call 911 if they have any information regarding the abduction. This information should be broadcast every 15 minutes for three hours. Updated broadcasts should be made quickly to inform the public of new information.
Law Enforcement Check List
I. Child reported abducted -- the decision to review the information for possible activation of the Amber Alert Plan:
• 17 years or younger and police believe the child is in immediate danger.
• 17 years or older if the victim possesses a known or proved physical or mental disability that would place them at a greater risk, with the exception of Alzheimer victims.
• Parental or family abductions when the child is 17 years or younger and the investigation determines the child’s life is in immediate danger.
• All other possibilities have been reasonably excluded.
II. Only designated Amber Alert officers may activate the Plan by calling 1-800-322-4453, SLED’s missing person clearinghouse.
III. Updates will be passed through SLED following the same procedures as applied with initial notification.
IV. Place appropriate information on NCIC as soon as possible.
South Carolina Agencies Announce Silver Alerts for Missing Seniors
Several Midlands law enforcement agencies recently joined together to announce their intent to issue public alerts to find missing seniors. Called Silver Alerts, the bulletins will be similar to the familiar Amber Alerts for missing children.
Some differences will remain, as federal law limits the use of message boards on interstate highways. Pending federal legislation may provide grants for more agencies to adopt Silver Alerts, but currently the programs are locally funded. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, the head of the state Office on Aging, told the media he would seek state funds if needed.
Nationwide, the incidence of adults wandering away from their caregivers is increasing as the population ages and more adults fall victim to Alzheimer’s disease. The South Carolina Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are 70,000 adults in South Carolina living with the disease and suggests that 60% will wander from their caregivers over the course of the disease. The increase in missing seniors has begun to impact the operations of law enforcement agencies in both operations and policy. Law enforcement agencies must wrestle with the difficult balance between privacy of an adult and the adult’s safety. Operationally, a full-scale search can occupy all available officers for hours or days while the adult is missing.
In Richland, Aiken, Horry, and Charleston counties, residents with an at-risk family member have another option. These counties have agencies participating in Project Lifesaver, a national non-profit organization that provides small tracking devices to participants, who include those with Alzheimer’s disease and autistic adults and children. Enrolled participants wear a tracking device on a wristband that can be located by local law enforcement using special radio tracking equipment. Caregivers initiate a search by calling the local agency. Nationally, the program reports it has been used over 1500 times with no serious injuries to missing participants and with an average search time of less than 30 minutes. The main drawbacks to this program are the costs of the equipment and the need for monthly maintenance and battery changes by program staff.
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