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Missing Person Policy

General Order                                                                                                                                  September 8, 2009




Missing Persons Report

Cancellation on Missing Persons

Juvenile Missing

Missing Persons Cancellation




Establishes procedures for the accurate reporting of missing persons and cancellation of missing person reports.



The Stockton Police Department Family Crimes Unit is responsible for investigating reports of missing persons. One Officer/Community Service Officer (CSO) is assigned full-time to this position. If a Family Crimes Unit investigator is not available, Stockton Police Patrol and University of the Pacific Department of Public Safety officers will assume the responsibility. Reports of missing persons require immediate action.



A.   Officers should become familiar with penal codes sections 14200 through 14213.

B.   Section 14205 of the Penal Code REQUIRES Law Enforcement Agencies to take missing person/runaway reports IMMEDIATELY regardless of jurisdiction, and authorizes the local police or sheriff's department for the jurisdiction in which the person was last seen, to initiate an investigation. Follow-up will be conducted by the agency whose jurisdiction it falls within.

1. This section also requires that with regard to reports involving missing children under 16years old, or persons of any age when there is evidence the person is at risk, the department shall complete the following investigative steps: a. Broadcast within it's jurisdiction a "Be on the Look-Out" (BOLO) bulletin without delay.

2. Enter the missing person's information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) within four (4) hours, after accepting a report.

NOTE: Officers shall turn all Missing Persons Reports into Headquarters, immediately upon completion, for N.C.I.C entry.



A.    All personnel shall be familiar with the booklet on Missing and Abducted Children, put out by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A copy of this booklet will be maintained in the Dispatch Center.

1. In particular, the following investigative checklists should be reviewed:

a. Administrative

b. First Responder (patrol officer)

c. Investigative officer (Family Crimes Unit)

d. Supervisor


B.    As used in this General Order, "evidence that the person is at risk" includes, but is not limited to evidence or indications of any of the following, and requires immediate police response and investigation.

1. Is the victim of a crime or foul play

2. Is in need of medical attention

3. Has no pattern of running away or disappearing

4. Is the victim of a parental abduction/kidnapping

5. Is mentally impaired

6. Any minor missing under any of the following circumstances

a. The minor is twelve (12) years of age or younger.

b. The missing youth is believed to be out of the zone of safety for his/her age and developmental stage.

c. The missing youth is mentally incapacitated.

d. The missing youth is drug dependent, including prescribed medication and/or illegal substance, and the dependency is potentially life threatening.

e. The missing youth has been absent from home for more than twenty-four (24) hours before being reported to the police.

f. Based on available information, it is determined the missing youth is in a life threatening situation.

g. Based on available information, it is believed the missing child is in the company of adults who could endanger his/her welfare.

h. The absence is inconsistent with his/her established patterns of behavior and the deviation cannot be readily explained.

i.   Other circumstances are involved in the disappearance that would cause a reasonable person to conclude the child should be considered "at risk."


C.    The response to a missing person may require immediate action and a formal missing person's report. If action is to be taken, it will be done in the following manner:

1. TELECOMMUNICATIONS/DISPATCH CENTER – On all Missing Persons/Runaways, an officer shall take the report.

a. In "at risk" cases, during hours when Stockton Police Family Crimes Unit officers are on duty, the telecommunications/dispatch center will dispatch a patrol officer. The responding officer will contact the Stockton Police Department Family Crimes Unit for possible assistance and/or follow-up.

b. Information received from citizens regarding active missing persons will be acted upon by patrol, in the absence of available Stockton Police Department Family Crimes Unit personnel.

c. Notify the On Call Professional if the missing person is a student.

d. If the missing person is classified as "at risk" due to medical issues, notify Cowell Wellness Center or the Director of Health Services during non operational hours.

2. RESPONDING OFFICER – A Missing Persons Report will be filed on all missing person/runaway cases, where the investigating officers do not locate the person within a reasonable period of time. If the missing person/runaway is twelve (12) years of age or younger, he/she shall be classified as "at risk." The supervisor will be notified immediately of those classified as "at risk." The Stockton Police Watch Commander shall be advised of the facts of the "at risk" missing person report and the time the child was last seen.

a. Determine if the missing person is "at risk."

b. When investigating a kidnapping or parental abduction case, a missing person report must also be filed on the missing child and the suspect. This should include a suspect vehicle description, if available. (Refer to Stockton Police G.O. J-5A)

c. When investigating multiple missing persons from the same location and time, use one Crime/Incident Report number for the reports. (Obtain a number from Stockton Police Dispatch as well.)

d. Initiate the investigation and the search.

e. If a crime is involved with the missing person/runaway, a separate report must be filed for the crime.

f. Have dispatch notify the On Call Professional if the missing person is a student.

3.   SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES – When notified of an "at risk" missing person, the supervisor will do the following:

a. Respond to the location, if necessary.

b. Supervise the investigation and search of the missing person.

c. Notify the Stockton Police Department Watch Commander.

d. Coordinate with Stockton Police Department Family Crimes Unit personnel in the search.

 e. Have dispatch notify the On Call Professional if the missing person is a student.


a. The On Call Professional will evaluate the nature of the missing person. If the missing person is a student, staff or faculty member, the chair persons of the Pacific Alert Team should be notified.

About This Policy
Last Updated
Original Issue Date

Responsible Department
Public Safety