Public Service Announcement:
Help us, help you.
With Spring and Summer just around the corner, unfortunately we see a spike in “missing persons” cases.
We understand for most individuals this is probably the first time you’ve experienced something like this and don’t know what to do or how to get help when someone is not able to be located. Here are a few steps we feel can help you along in an unfamiliar process. Please note this is not a “cookie cutter” process and can vary greatly on a case by case basis. Here are a few simple steps you can follow:
1. Call the police asap. This is always the first step as they are the frontline for any missing persons cases. Do not wait to call. (There is a misnomer with waiting 48hrs). Give as much detail as you can about the person. Be ready to provide quality recent pictures, a description of what they were wearing, and any pertinent information such as where they were headed, who they were with, and what they were driving if they were driving a vehicle. This will help expedite the process.
If there is indication that this person may be at risk for harm or have any pre-existing medical conditions, make sure they are aware right away. Once the report is made, make sure to get the case number, and the name/number of the officer/detective assigned to the case as this will allow for easier follow up with PD and will also allow you to funnel any details you think of later that may help in locating that person.
2. If you are going to be reaching out to a search team like ours (www.wolfpacksr.com) please note that each search team will have different rules and regulations that govern how they operate and what services they can offer. In regards to Wolfpack SAR, we have two different divisions. Our first division is our online services that help front end, vet, and share the information you provide us with.
We have to go through each request and determine if this person can legally be posted and/or searched for. While we know how hectic things can be, this request has to come from a legal guardian or a spouse/immediate family member. They simply go to www.wolfpacksr.com and fill out the “help find me” link. This allows for us to create what we call a “social media dragnet” & shares the information given to us while we gather additional details should a physical search be required and gives us a single point of contact.
Believe it or not, if someone is over the age of 18 and wants to pack up and leave, they have the legal right to do so as long as they are not a threat to themselves or to others and have no preexisting medical conditions that could render them requiring life saving services.
3. “Is the search team coming out now?”
This is a question we get allot.
This is our second and what I consider to be our main division. We have over 50 members as well as trained/certified K-9’s at the ready to assist PD/FD if/when they call us in.
Here is some insight as to how things work behind the scenes.
As much as we would like to hop in our vehicles and start looking for that individual, there is a proper way for us to go about things. We do not “self dispatch”. What that means is, we need to be called in by whatever local authorities are working the case. It helps things go smoother and ensures that properly trained individuals and resources are being used and allocated in the proper areas at the proper times and helps to expedite physical searches of required.
4. “How can I help/can I help?”
This is another biggie. If you have any details that can lead us to this individual, let PD know asap. Sometimes the smallest detail can provide the largest leads.
*Sharing missing posters- while it’s easy nowadays to make a missing person poster, its best to utilize the ones we setup as we have experience in this area and will have details in there that some people may not think to add. It will also provide one centralized place for people to turn in tips that they may have that will help expedite things. Share the original posts we make and it helps streamline the process.
5. “I want to go out looking for this person.”
This is a natural reaction. Short of driving routes you know this person may have traveled and doing some initial groundwork within reason, leave it to the professionals.
While we appreciate the help, when it comes to physical searches, it’s best to leave things to the professionals. This is especially crucial when K-9’s may be involved as people that mean well are out looking in areas we would want to send a particular K-9 and team through and could be unknowingly cross contaminating the area and destroying potential clues and evidence. We know how hard it is to sit idly by when a loved one is missing. Rest assured there is allot going on behind the scenes between PD and search teams that the public will not be aware of at the time. Your efforts are best utilized in printing missing persons posters (we can help create one for you that you can print and share) and making the general public aware. This will hopefully bring in the tips needed to aiding in the successful location of that person.
If anyone has any additional questions, please feel free to PM us. We hope this insight has been helpful should you or someone you love require our services.
Wolfpack SAR Chief