Discussion in 'New Jersey' started by Earthbound Misfit I, Oct 12, 2008.
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Missing Persons Investigative Best Practices Protocol
Unidentified Deceased Persons Investigative Guidelines
In order to comply with New Jersey P.L. 2007, Chapter 279, an Act concerning missing persons and unidentified deceased human remains investigations, designated as Patricias Law, and supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, the Superintendent of State Police has developed a best practices protocol for all law enforcement agencies to follow when addressing reports of missing persons or unidentified deceased human remains. This protocol sets forth uniform standards for investigating missing persons and unidentified deceased persons cases.
A. This best practices protocol establishes the policy by which sworn law enforcement officers within the State of New Jersey shall comply with the directives outlined in New Jersey P.L. 2007, Chapter 279, an Act designated as Patricias Law, regarding procedures to be followed in the reporting and investigation of missing and unidentified adults and children, including abducted, abandoned, runaway, or other missing children.
B. A law enforcement agency shall accept without delay any report of a missing person. No law enforcement agency may refuse to accept a missing person report. The law enforcement agency that receives a report of a missing person shall be the lead law enforcement agency in charge of the missing person investigation, and shall continue in that capacity unless another law enforcement agency assumes primary responsibility over the investigation. The lead law enforcement agency shall be entitled to the cooperation of any other law enforcement agency in the State.
C. In all cases classified as High Risk, officers are encouraged to contact the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit, Division Headquarters, at 609-882-2000, extension 2893. During other than normal business hours, officers shall contact the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (ROIC) at 609-963-6900.
II. Definition of Terms:
A. AMBER Abducted Child Alert System: The AMBER Alert System is a
cooperative effort between law enforcement and the broadcast media in the event of a child abduction. Activation of the system provides immediate emergency broadcasts of descriptive information to the public through a multitude of media outlets. All AMBER Alert activation requests must be authenticated and approved via the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons & Child Exploitation Unit, Division Headquarters, at 609-882-2000, extension 2893. During other than normal business hours, officers shall contact the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations andIntelligence Center (ROIC) at 609-963-6900.
2B. Alzheimers Disease: A progressive, degenerative disease of the brain in which brain cells die and are not replaced. It results in impaired memory, thinking, and behavior.
C. Family Reference Sample Collection Kit: A standardized collection kit that
provides a safe and effective, noninvasive means for obtaining DNA reference
samples from appropriate family members of a missing person. Family reference samples are entered into the FBIs Missing Persons DNA Database Program for comparative purposes.
D. High Risk Missing Person: A person whose whereabouts are not currently known and the circumstances of the persons disappearance suggest that the person may be at imminent or likely risk of injury or death. The circumstances that indicate a person is a high risk missing person shall include, but not be limited to:
1. The person is missing as a result of a confirmed abduction or under circumstances that indicate the persons disappearance was not voluntary
2. The person is missing under known dangerous circumstances
3. The person is missing more than 30 days
4. There is evidence that the person is at risk because:
a. The person is in need of medical attention or prescription medication such that it will have a serious adverse effect on the persons health
if he or she does not receive the needed care or medication
b. The person does not have a pattern of running away or disappearing
c. The person missing may have been abducted by a non-custodial parent
d. The person missing is mentally impaired (refer to section VII of this protocol for reference information)
e. The person missing is over the age of 13 and under the age of 21 years and any other risk factor is known
f. The person missing has been the subject of past threats or violence
5. Any other factor that may indicate, in the judgement of the lead law
enforcement agency, that the missing person may be at risk.
E. Human Remains Collection Kit: A standardized collection kit that provides a safe and effective means for obtaining DNA samples from human remains.
F. Lead Law Enforcement Agency: The law enforcement agency with primary
responsibility for investigating a missing or unidentified person case.
G. Long Term Missing Person: Any person that has remained the subject of a missing person investigation for over thirty (30) days.
H. Long Term Unidentified Person: Any person, living or deceased, that has not been identified through investigation for over thirty (30) days. All human remains that have been recovered and not identified are included in this definition.
I. Missing Adult: Includes a person who is 18 years of age or older and whose absence is contrary to their normal patterns of behavior.
J. Missing Child: Any person 13 years of age or younger whose whereabouts are unknown to their parent, guardian, or responsible party.
K. Missing Child Alert System (MCAS): Commonly referred to as MCAS or TRAK
(Technology for the Recovery of Abducted Kids), is a statewide computer system that enables the rapid production and dissemination of photographic informational bulletins to all law enforcement agencies in the State of New Jersey.
L. Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit: The Missing Persons & Child
Exploitation Unit in the Division of State Police in the Department of Law and
Public Safety established pursuant to section 2 of P.L. 1983, chapter 467 (C.52:17B-9.7) to provide analytical and investigative support related to missing persons andunidentified persons investigations. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.njsp.org, 1-800-
709-7090) M. National Crime Information Center (NCIC): The computerized index of criminal justice information (i.e., criminal record history information, fugitives, stolen properties, missing persons, etc.). It is available to federal, state, and local law enforcement, and other criminal justice agencies and is operational 24 hours a day,365 days a year. It assists authorized agencies in criminal justice and related law enforcement objectives, such as apprehending fugitives, locating missing persons, locating and returning stolen property, as well as protecting law enforcement officers encountering individuals described in the system.
N. National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS): The system utilized to rapidly communicate vital law enforcement information to participating national law enforcement agencies.
O. New Jersey Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NJLETS): The
system utilized to rapidly communicate vital law enforcement information to
participating New Jersey law enforcement agencies.
P. Personal/Direct Reference Sample Evidence Registration Form: Evidence
submission form to be utilized when sending personal samples from the missing
person to the National Missing Persons Program for DNA profile analysis and
subsequent upload into the FBIs Missing Persons DNA Database Program.
Q. Safe Return Program: A nationwide identification, support, and enrollment
program working at the community level which assists in the safe return of
individuals with Alzheimers or a related dementia who wander and become lost.
R. Unidentified Deceased Persons Remains: Human remains that have been
discovered while conducting a death investigation in which the identity of the human remains are currently unknown.
S. VICAP: Violent Crimes Apprehension Program database.
III. Reporting Mechanics:
A. At the time a missing person report is filed, the lead law enforcement agency shall seek to ascertain and record the following information about the missing person:
1. The name of the missing person, including any aliases
2. Date of birth
3. Identifying marks, such as birthmarks, moles, tattoos and scars
4. Height and weight
7. Current hair color and true or natural hair color
8. Eye color
9. Prosthetics, surgical implants, or cosmetic implants
10. Physical anomalies
11. Blood type, if known
12. Any medications the missing person is taking or needs to take
13. Drivers license number, if known
14. Social security number, if known
15 A recent photograph of the missing person, if available
16. A description of the clothing the missing person was believed to be wearing at the time of disappearance
17. A description of notable items that the missing person may be carrying
18. Information regarding the missing persons electronic communications
devices, such as a cell phone number or e-mail address
19. The reasons why the reporting person believes that the person is missing
20. The name and location of the missing persons school or employer, if known
21. The name and location of the missing persons dentist and primary care
physician, if known
22. Any circumstances that may indicate that the disappearance was not
23. Any circumstances that indicate that the missing person may be at risk of injury or death
24. A description of the possible means of transportation used by the missing person, such as the make, model, color, license, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a motor vehicle
25. Any identifying information about a known or possible abductor or the person last seen with the missing person including:
b. Physical description
c. Date of birth
d. Identifying marks
e. Description of possible means of transportation, such as the make, model, color, license, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a motor vehicle
f. Known associates
26. Any other information that can aid in locating the missing person
27. Date and time of last contact
B. The lead law enforcement agency shall inform the person making the report, a family member, or any other person in a position to assist the law enforcement agency, of its efforts to locate the missing person by providing to that person:
1. General information about the handling of the missing person case or about
intended efforts in the case to the extent that the law enforcement agency
determines that disclosure would not adversely affect its ability to locate or
protect the missing person, to apprehend, or to prosecute any persons
criminally involved in the disappearance
2. Information advising the person making the report and other involved persons that if the missing person remains missing, they should contact the law enforcement agency to provide additional information and materials that will aid in locating the missing person, such as any credit or debit cards the missing person has access to, other banking or financial information, and any records of cell phone use
3. In those cases where DNA samples are requested, the law enforcement agency shall notify the person or family member that all such DNA samples are provided on a voluntary basis and shall be used solely to help locate or
identify the missing person and shall not be used for any other purpose
4. The law enforcement agency, upon acceptance of a missing person report,shall inform the person filing the report that there are two clearing houses for missing persons information. If the person reported missing is age 17 or under, the person filing the report shall be provided with contact information for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). If the person reported missing is age 18 or older, the person filing the report shall be provided with contact information for the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA).
IV. Database Entries:
A. Upon completion of taking the necessary information for the purpose of initiating a missing person investigation from the reporting party, the lead law enforcement agency shall immediately enter this information into all appropriate databases.
1. NJLETS/NCIC - The NJLETS entry (File 08) will automatically generate a report to the State Missing Persons Clearinghouse located within the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit via the Criminal Justice Information
System (CJIS). This record is automatically sent to NCIC and entered into the NCIC Missing Person File, creating a NIC Number for the case.
2. MCAS/TRAK - Whenever possible, the lead law enforcement agency should generate a TRAK bulletin with a photo of the missing person and particulars of the case. Agencies not having access to the MCAS/TRAK system may contact the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit for assistance.
3. NJSP Website - The lead law enforcement agency may, at any time, contact the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit and request that their case be listed on the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons website/web page.
4. NCMEC/NCMA - The lead law enforcement agency should give consideration in contacting and listing their case with the National Center forMissing and Exploited Children or the National Center for Missing Adults,when deemed appropriate.
B. Upon the proper closure of a missing person investigation, the lead law enforcement agency shall ensure that all utilized databases have been properly updated.
V. Missing Person Investigative Standards:
A. When a missing person report is taken by a law enforcement agency not having jurisdiction where the missing person permanently resides, that agency shall promptly notify and send a copy of the report to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the missing persons resident address. It is also appropriate to notify all law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction of the missing persons intended destination(s).
B. Upon the initial receipt of a missing person report, the law enforcement agency shall determine whether the person reported missing is to be designated a High Risk missing person as defined in Section II. B. of this protocol. Upon the determination that a missing person investigation involves a high risk missing person or a missing child, the lead law enforcement agency may contact the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit and request assistance. The Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit, in consultation with the lead law enforcement agency, shall determine whether the circumstances warrant a cooperative effort. If the determination is made that a cooperative effort is warranted, then the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit shall coordinate the deployment of additional state police resources in support of the investigation.
C. The lead law enforcement agency shall immediately contact the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit should they request an AMBER Alert Plan activation for cases involving an abducted child under the age of 18 where the threat of death or serious bodily injury is imminent. The Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit must be contacted to authenticate and broadcast all AMBER Alert requests. In cases involving an authenticated AMBER activation, Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit personnel shall respond to the jurisdiction of the event and assist the lead law enforcement agency with the investigation until the deactivation of the AMBER Alert.
VI. Missing Person Investigative Guidelines and Procedures:
A. Officers Initial Contact
1. Interview the reporting person. If more than one reporting person is present,interviews should be conducted separately. Verify that the person is, in fact,missing. Determine if this may be a high risk missing person and if there is a potential crime scene area and or potential witnesses.
2. If a child is involved, verify custody status. Examine court orders regarding current custody matters, if applicable. If criteria are met for an AMBER plan activation, the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit must be contacted.
3. Identify the circumstances of the disappearance. Determine when, where, and by whom the missing person was last seen. Interview the individual(s) who had last contact with the missing person. Develop a list of known family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and associates for interviews.
4. If a child is involved, identify a zone of safety commensurate with their age and developmental stage. If the child was out of this safety zone, ascertain potential reasons.
5. Obtain a detailed description of the missing person, including as many current photos as possible. If known acquaintances, potential abductors,vehicles, or persons of interest are involved, obtain detailed descriptions as necessary.
6. Relay detailed descriptive information necessary for the investigation to the dispatch center for broadcast to all relative allied law enforcement entities.
7. Ensure that the dispatch center is entering the missing person into NJLETS and NCIC. Ensure available photo(s) are relayed to the dispatch center for the creation of a MCAS/TRAK bulletin. Once the bulletin has been created, distribute throughout required areas and to necessary law enforcement agencies and media outlets.
8. Request additional personnel and resources if circumstances require.
9. Consideration should be given to immediately dispatching investigative and supervisory assistance to the scene and to implement the Incident Command System. The Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit may be contactedto provide investigative guidance and resources.
10. Thoroughly search the immediate and surrounding area in a logical and systematic manner, taking consideration of the particulars related to the missing person or missing child. Consider using a standardized checklist, which should include the last known location of the missing person and likely locations where the person may have gone. Canvass the area for potential witnesses and individuals with knowledge of the missing person. Interviewas necessary.
11. Treat the area as a potential crime scene.
12. Ensure that everyone at the scene is identified and interviewed separately and properly record the information. Note name, address, and phone numbers of each person. Determine relationship to the missing person and ask where they believe the missing person may be. Obtain information of potential associates to aid in future investigation.
13. Utilize a crime scene entry/exit log, when necessary.
14. Request voluntary assistance from the family or reporting party in obtaining items of investigatory value belonging to the missing person. Obtain consent to search, when applicable. Consider attempting to obtain personal items thatcontain the missing persons scent for utilization of search dogs. Place scent articles in a clean, paper bag. Attempt to obtain personal electronic devices(cell phones or cell phone numbers for tracking purposes, computers for online resources such as screen names or email sources, digital cameras,electronic storage devices, etc.). Gather as many documents as possible to assist with follow-up investigation. Banking records, mail, cell phone records, etc. should be collected, when possible. Utilize consent forms or court orders, as necessary.
15. When applicable, obtain items that would likely contain the missing persons DNA; such as a toothbrush, hairbrush, or clothing. Seal and protect the scene, when necessary, for potential subsequent search efforts by qualified crime scene technicians.
16. Determine if any of the missing persons personal items are known to be missing from the area/scene. 17. Maintain scene integrity until relieved by investigative or supervisory personnel. Thoroughly debrief relieving personnel, advising of all investigative steps taken to point and noted documentation.
B. Investigating Officer/Detective
1. Obtain briefing from first responding officer and other on-scene personnel.
2. Verify the accuracy of all descriptive information and other details developed during the preliminary investigation. Ensure the missing person has been entered into all appropriate databases (NCIC, NJLETS, MCAS / TRAK).
3. Obtain a brief, recent history of family dynamics or relationship dynamicswhich apply to the missing person.
4. Correct and investigate the reasons for conflicting information offered by witnesses and other involved individuals.
5. Review and evaluate all available information and evidence requested.
6. Develop an investigational plan.
7. Determine what additional resources and specialized services are required.
8. Contact county prosecutors office for required court ordered information to aid in investigation, when necessary.
9. Contact the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit for assistance and resources, when necessary.
10. Execute investigative follow-up plan.
C. Supervising Officer
1. Conduct a debriefing of the first responding officer, investigators, and other agency personnel at the scene. Obtain pertinent written reports.
2. Determine if additional personnel are needed to assist in the investigation.
3. Ensure that all required resources, equipment, and assistance necessary to conduct an efficient investigation have been requested and expedite their availability.
4. Establish a command post, when necessary.
5. Ensure coordination and cooperation among all involved law enforcement agencies in the investigation and search effort.
6. Ensure that all required notifications are made.
7. Ensure that all policies and procedures are in compliance.
8. Conduct a criminal history check on any principal suspects and participants in the investigation.
9. Be available to make any decisions or determinations as they develop.
10. Utilize media outlets to assist in search efforts, when necessary, throughout the duration of the case.
11. Contact the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit for assistance and resources, when necessary.
VII. Mentally Impaired Persons:
A. If the adult is developmentally disabled or emotionally disturbed, they may have difficulty communicating with others about their needs, their identity, or their address. The disability may place the adult in danger of harm. Mentally impaired may also include adults suffering from Alzheimers.
1. When a child is developmentally disabled or emotionally disturbed, they may also have difficulty communicating with others about their needs, their identity, or their address. A mentally impaired child may be in danger of exploitation or other harm.
2. If the person is not located during the current shift all available information shall be given to the relieving shift until the person is found.
B Law enforcement agencies and officers in the state shall be guided by the Attorney Generals Law Enforcement Directive 2005-3 and training material, which
establishes a statewide policy on the Safe Return Program to recover lost individuals with Alzheimers disease and related disorders.
1. It is particularly important to find a person with Alzheimers disease within the first 24 hours to ensure safety and survival. The Safe Return Program has
been designed to assist both the care giver of persons with Alzheimers disease or a related dementia disorder, and law enforcement officials with the
safe return of these persons. When a memory-impaired person wanders away from home or an institution, law enforcement officials may utilize an 800
number to call the safe return operator, who will work with the missing persons care giver and police to gather critical information.
a. The program includes a nationwide participant registry that contains the full name of the registrant, a photograph, identifying characteristics, medical information, and emergency contact information which enables the police officer to easily identify a person with Alzheimers disease.
b. When calling the programs crisis number at 800-883-1180, a safe return clinician will contact the registrants care giver.
c. Safe Return identification provides the first name of a person bearing this ID, indicates that they have a memory impairment, and gives the 24-hour toll-free number for the Alzheimers Safe Return Program.
d. The Safe Return Program can also be used by police to send an alert to area agencies, such as shelters or hospitals, that a person with Alzheimers disease is missing. This may help recover a person with Alzheimers disease faster.
2. Officers receiving a report of a missing person who is believed to have Alzheimers disease or a related disorder, shall immediately contact the Safe Return Hotline at 800-883-1180 and a photograph and/or description, if available, should be disseminated to all officers working the current shift.
3. Officers searching for a person with Alzheimers disease may refer to Annex A of this protocol to assist with recognizing someone with Alzheimers disease.
4. When approaching a person believed to have Alzheimers disease, ask for identifying information. Persons who are registered with the Safe Return Program shall have a bracelet, necklace, lapel pin, key chain, or label inside their clothing collar.
VIII. Long Term Missing Investigative Guidelines and Procedures:
A. If the person identified in the missing person report remains missing for 30 days and the additional information and materials specified below have not been received, the
lead law enforcement agency shall attempt to obtain:
1. DNA samples from family members and, if possible, from the missing person along with any needed documentation, including any consent forms, required for the use of state or federal DNA databases
2. Dental information and x-rays, as well as an authorization to release dental or skeletal x-rays of the missing person. When dental records are obtained, the resulting profile will be coded and entered into NCIC by modification of the existing entry
3. Any additional photographs of the missing person that may aid the investigation or an identification. The lead law enforcement agency shall not be required to obtain written authorization before it releases publicly any photograph that would aid in the investigation or identification of the missing person
4. When fingerprints are obtained, the resulting profile will be coded and entered into NCIC by modification of the existing entry
B. Mechanics for Submission of DNA Samples
1. If the missing person investigation remains active after thirty (30) days, the lead law enforcement agency shall attempt to secure personal articles of the missing person (i.e., toothbrush, hairbrush, etc.) that may be beneficial in obtaining a DNA profile of the missing person. Once the article(s) has been properly documented, officers shall utilize the Personal / Direct Reference Sample Evidence Registration Form and send the sample to the National Missing Persons Program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, in accordance with issued guidelines.
2. The lead law enforcement agency shall contact the reporting party or appropriate biological family member(s) to ascertain if they are willing to provide a reference DNA sample for comparison purposes in the National Missing Persons Program federal database (CODIS MP) maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Officers shall notify the reporting person or family member(s) that all such DNA samples are provided on a voluntary basis and shall be used solely to help locate or identify the missing person and shall not be used for any other purpose.
3. Officers shall utilize the Family Reference Sample Collection Kit to obtain DNA samples. Officers shall strictly adhere to the instructions as put forth in the collection kit. Kits may be obtained by contacting the county liaison officer or the NJSP Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit, Division Headquarters, at 609-882-2000, extension 2894.
4. Upon completion of obtaining the DNA sample(s), officers shall forward the kit to the National Missing Persons Program, University of North Texas Health Science Center, as directed in the kit instruction form. Strict attention shall be adhered to in the transmittal of the Fax Back Sample Tracking Form prior to the mailing of the kit.
5. In addition to faxing the form to the National Missing Persons Program, officers shall fax the form to the Missing Persons & Child Exploitation Unit, Division Headquarters, at 609-882-2719, for case tracking purposes.
6. Upon completion of the DNA sample submission process, the lead law enforcement agency shall modify the existing NCIC missing person/unidentified person entry to include that a DNA sample pertaining to the investigation is available for comparison. Location of the sample and corresponding CODIS MP identification number should be included in this modified entry.
7. Reference Sample Priority Sequence:
a. Personal Item(s) From Missing Person (Direct Reference Sample Evidence Registration Form)
(4) Any item capable of furnishing a DNA profile
b. Nuclear family members of missing person (Family Reference Sample Collection Kit)
(1) Biological brother or sister of missing person
(2) Biological parents of missing person
(3) Biological children of missing person
c. Maternal biological relatives of missing person (Family Reference Sample Collection Kit)
(1) Aunts / uncles of missing person (Maternal side only)
(2) Cousins (Maternal side only)
(3) Half-sisters / half-brothers (Maternal side only)
C. Pertinent information relating to the long term missing person shall be entered into the Violent Crimes Apprehension Program (VICAP) database.
IX. Unidentified Deceased Investigative Guidelines:
A. After performing any death scene investigation, under current operating guidelines within the jurisdiction of the event, as deemed appropriate under the circumstances
by the lead law enforcement agency, the official with custody of the human remains shall ensure that the human remains are delivered to the appropriate state or county
B. Any state or county medical examiner with custody of human remains that are not identified within 24 hours of discovery shall promptly notify the Missing Persons and
Child Exploitation Unit of the location of those remains.
C. If the medical examiner with custody of the remains cannot determine whether or not the recovered remains are human, the medical examiner shall notify the Missing
Persons and Child Exploitation Unit.
D. The appropriate state or county medical examiner shall attempt to promptly identify human remains. These actions may include, but are not limited to, obtaining:
1. Photographs of the human remains
2. Dental or skeletal X-rays
3. Photographs of items found with the human remains
4. Fingerprints from the remains, when possible
5. Samples of tissue suitable for DNA typing, if possible
6. Samples of whole bone or hair suitable for DNA typing
7. Any other information that may support identification efforts
E. Medical examiners, or any other person, shall not dispose of, or engage in actions that will materially affect the unidentified human remains before the appropriate
medical examiner obtains:
1. Samples suitable for DNA identification archiving
2. Photographs of the unidentified human remains
3. All other appropriate steps for identification have been exhausted
F. Unidentified human remains shall not be cremated.
G. The appropriate state or county medical examiner shall make reasonable efforts to obtain prompt DNA analysis of biological samples if the human remains have not
been identified by other means within 30 days.
H. The appropriate medical examiner shall seek support from appropriate state and federal agencies to assist in the identification of unidentified human remains. Such
assistance may include, but not be limited to, available mitochondrial or nuclear DNA testing, federal grants for DNA testing, or federal grants for crime laboratory
or medical examiner office improvement.
I. The appropriate medical examiner with custody of the human remains shall seek support from appropriate federal and state agency representatives to have information
promptly entered in federal and state databases by those representatives that can aid in the identification of the human remains. Information shall be entered into federal
databases as follows:
1. Data relevant for the NCIC Unidentified Deceased/NJLETS Unidentified Deceased (File 11) entries will be entered by the lead law enforcement agency
2. DNA profiles and information shall be entered into the National DNA Index System (NDIS/CODIS/CODIS MP) within five business days after the completion of the DNA analysis
3. Information sought by the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP) database as soon as practicable
NEW JERSEY”S AMBER ALERT PLAN
The State of New Jersey has developed the following criteria:
AMBER Alerts are intended for non-family cases of child abduction, where the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death. AMBER Alerts are not intended for all missing child incidents, runaways, or child custody situations. All law enforcement must work together to ensure AMBER Alerts are not abused. Abuse will lead to a lack of confidence by law enforcement and the public. For the AMBER Alert to be activated the following criteria must be met:
• The child must be under the age of 18.
• The child must be in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
• There must be enough descriptive information to believe an AMBER Alert will help locate the child.
• There must have been a short enough delay between the time the child was last seen and the time the child was reported missing to believe an AMBER Alert will help locate the child.
• Possible domestic or parental involvement
• Is there enough information to indicate that an AMBER Alert will help?
If the missing child does not fit the AMBER Alert criteria, law enforcement agencies should not hesitate to contact the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit for assistance if needed. The investigating agency should still prepare and distribute fliers utilizing all available means, however, there will be no emergency broadcast interrupting radio and television. This plan is not designed to limit law enforcement from pursuing their own agreements with the media in publicizing any missing person within their jurisdiction. All law enforcement agencies are encouraged to pursue any and all previously developed techniques designed to locate the missing child, and not to wait for the AMBER Alert authentication before employing those methods. The plan is designed to enhance those techniques utilizing the emergency broadcast system, once the AMBER Alert is authenticated.