City outlines policy on missing persons

(Plain Press, June 2004) In an April 27, 2004 press release, Cleveland Mayor Jane L. Campbell reinforced the City's existing policies and procedures on missing persons, stressing that there is not just one policy, but a group of policies that address reported missing persons cases. The Cleveland Police Department currently has three established policies and procedures to address a missing persons report:

*General Police Order 6.2.10 - Missing Person Investigations.

This order requires the Division of Police to act immediately to a report of a missing person, including making all attempts to use programs such as Amber Alert, Cleveland Missing Child Alert, Police and Community Alert, A Child is Missing, and Truckers Helping to Recover

Ohio 's Missing Children in the event a juvenile is reported missing.

The Police and Community Alert was recently used in the pending investigation of Gina DeJesus and to help find and rescue a four-month old boy abducted on Cleveland's far west side this March.

*General Police Order 9.1.07 - Northeast Ohio Amber Alert

The Northeast Ohio Amber Alert Program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases.

*General Police Order 9.1.08 - A Child is Missing Program (ACIM)

ACIM is a free telemarketing service that allows a law enforcement agency to deliver a large volume of customized recorded phone messages (1,000 per minute) to the community in a short period of time. The call is an informational pre-recorded message about the missing person and the agency information.

"While we are confident in our current package of missing persons policies and procedures, we began over a year ago taking the next steps to expand our fight to find missing persons," said Sanford Watson, Director, Department of Safety. "The City's safety and community relations departments are currently in the planning phases of two additional programs that will help educate our children, allow opportunities for the community to get more involved, and increase awareness about personal safety."

Slated as a pilot project to begin in June, Project Safe Haven is designed to protect Cleveland 's youth through the use of secure shelters and community networking. The shelters used will be police and fire stations, recreation center, and local businesses. Project Safe Haven, a collaborative effort between the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD), is funded by a $250,000 U.S. Department of Justice Project Safe Neighborhood grant. The pilot project will be conducted in Cleveland 's First District and will end in June 2005.

The second project, still in its infancy stage called "Out of the Mouths of Babes," will air on cable channel TV23 to allow the youth of Cleveland to openly discuss safety issues and concerns.

In addition, the City currently distributes safety tips with the distribution of tickets to community events for children and airs public service announcements about personal safety on cable channel TV23.


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