According to the St. Joseph Police Department, they receive numerous calls a week in regard to missing children. The children are often found within 30 minutes. This can be attributed to procedures implemented by the police department.
Sgt. Jason Strong is a detective with the Family Crimes Unit of the police department, and he said once a family member thinks their child is missing, they need to promptly alert authorities.
“If your child’s missing and you can’t find them, you’ve checked the home, it doesn’t hurt to get us involved as soon as possible,” said Strong.
Strong said there is a unit strictly dedicated to finding missing children called the Child Abduction Response Team, which is something that is not common in every police department around the state and country.
“We serve a different function. Rather than just patrol, we come out specifically for missing endangered, missing abducted and stranger-abducted children,” Strong said, “We have a response preplanned on what we’re going to do to try and get a successful resolution for these missing children.”
The unit is coordinated with several different agencies in Northwest Missouri. They also have a memorandum of understanding with the Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
“We’ll have a preplanned coordinated response where we might work with the Sheriff’s Department or the Fire Department, have victim advocates for the family. It’s a well-coordinated response and it’s needed,” Strong said.
The Child Abduction Response Team gets help from a smartphone app called the FBI Child ID app. The app allows parents to put in pictures and general information about their child in an event the child goes missing. Strong said this is useful for getting authorities the correct information about the missing child, quickly.
“Parents just like you and I, they get nervous when their kid goes missing and they might forget their child’s date of birth because they’re thinking about other stuff. Thinking about where their kid is,” Strong said.
If a child goes missing the parents can send all of that information to a communications center with the pressing of a button. The information is sent to a communications center where it is then disributed to law enforcement agencies in Northwest Missouri and other states if necessary.
Strong said he believes a combination of the Child Abduction Response Team and the FBI Child ID app are large contributing factors into finding missing children around St. Joseph.
By Zach Barrett | News-Press Now