Michigan Law: Police Must Use Missing Person Database
Governor Snyder signed a bill that made it a law for Michigan police officers to use The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, (NamUs.) The law went into effect on July 4 and is an effort to reduce the number of missing persons.
As of July 2018, Michigan State Police is reporting 4,431 missing persons. Yet the NamUs site has been underutilized. The hope is that with the new law in effect, police can diligently work on bringing that number down. It gives officers a way to search online photos and descriptions to match missing persons, victims, and bodies. Having quick access to this information can identify people, solves crimes, and even return missing people to their families.
While other states have a 30-day window to enter the missing person information, that is not the most effective way to get results. The faster the information gets out the to public, the better the chance of finding the person.
Human trafficking is a big concern in Michigan, with more than 1,000 children missing per month. Sex trafficking occurs with 1 in 5 runaways, which are almost always initiated though an online app. Being aware of this and having instant access to information regarding these missing kids could help find and save them.
NamUs was first launched in 2007 by the U.S. Justice Department. The site is open to the public, as well. Families of missing persons can use the database to help locate them. Users can either enter a new case or add information to an existing case. It is searchable by case, demographics, circumstances, physical description, clothing, and images.
Police and the community need to work together in Michigan for faster results and to bring missing children home to their families safely.