Policy Title: Missing Persons Policy
Reviewed date: 5/30/2013
Pertains to: All students

Missing Persons Policy

This policy is developed in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations 34 CFR 668.46 and contains the official notification procedures for the University of St. Thomas concerning missing students and guests including those who reside in on-campus housing.

“Missing” means when a person has not been seen or made any contact with another person and the person’s location is unknown and unexplainable for a period of time that is regarded by knowledgeable parties as highly unusual or suspicious in consideration of the person’s usual behavior patterns, plans or routines.

  1. PUBLIC SAFETY RESPONSIBILTIES
    1. The primary department at the University of St. Thomas for the response, investigation and coordination of missing persons will be Public Safety. Also, the department will be the university’s liaison and assist the primary law enforcement agency having jurisdiction for the investigation of missing persons.
    2. As appropriate, the Public Safety department will consult with and seek assistance from other university departments or law enforcement agencies in a missing person case.
    3. The Director of Public Safety and the Dean of Students will confer and determine if and when the University Action and Response Team (UART) is notified in the case of missing persons.
  2. INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED BY STUDENTS
    1. University of St. Thomas students may identify a confidential contact that may be contacted within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing from campus. They may do so by completing the appropriate registration forms during address verification procedures in Murphy Online. The request for this contact is different than the emergency contact request even though the names supplied by the student may be the same. Students may change this name at any time through Murphy Online.
    2. When registering, students are advised that their contact information will be confidential, that this information will be accessible only to authorized campus officials, and that it may not be disclosed except to law enforcement personnel in the furtherance of a missing person investigation.
    3. The custodial parent or legal guardian of students under the age of 18 will also be contacted no later than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing.
  3. NOTIFICATION TO PUBLIC SAFETY REQUIRED
    1. Public Safety shall be immediately notified by a university employee or student or member of the university community who has reason to believe:
      1. that a student who resides in on-campus housing is missing for 24 hours; or
      2. there is a student or guest under the age of 18 who is missing.
      3. The person should call 651-962-5555 if it is an emergency and 651-962-5100 in other cases.
    2. If the missing person is under the age of 18, Public Safety will immediately take a report, call the local police department and commence a search.
    3. Public Safety will take a report and notify the police within 24 hours of the determination that a student who is over the age of 18 years old and resides on campus is missing. Also, Public Safety will commence a reasonable search of the campus based on the available information
    4. In all other cases of a missing person from campus, Public Safety will take a report, commence a reasonable search of the campus based on the available information and the reporting party will be directed to contact the police department where the person was last seen or went missing from.
    5. If the person is missing from a location other than campus, the reporting party will be directed to contact the appropriate police department.
    6. Public Safety shall take a report, commence a campus search and contact the local police in any case when there is a missing student, employee or guest from campus and there are unusual circumstances including but not limited to: person’s medical condition, location the person was last seen, weather, documentation or statements made by the person, potential victim of foul play, or reasons to believe the person may be a danger to themselves or others.
  4. INFORMATION for PUBLIC SAFETY
    1. The person contacting Public Safety should try to provide as much information to Public Safety as possible including: name, age, and address of the person, date and time last seen, medical condition, any physical or intellectual disabilities, time last seen, location last seen, any circumstances related to the person’s absence and a physical description of the person.
    2. Any vehicles, computers, residence hall rooms, or other personal belongings for the missing person from campus should be secured, including rekeying the room.
  5. Public Safety RESPONSE and INVESTIGATION
    1. In a missing person case originating from on campus, The Incident Command System will be implemented. The first responding officer will obtain available information about the incident and determine the resources that will be needed. The officer will also notify the supervisor on-duty.
    2. If warranted a preliminary search of the area will be conducted and other needed resources activated.
    3. The on-duty supervisor will then contact the manager on-duty and update information. The manager on-duty will contact the Director or Associate Director of Public Safety if the person is a student, or the person is missing from campus. They will then coordinate the response and investigation.
  6. COMMUNICATION
    1. The Director of Public Safety, Associate Director, or designees will coordinate the communication of a missing student to Dean of Students, University Relations, Academic Affairs or other appropriate department. In the case of a non-student, the communication will be with the person or department responsible for the person on campus.
    2. If it is determined an on-campus residence student has been missing for 24 hours, the Director of Public Safety, Dean of Students, and Director of Residence Life shall coordinate informing the confidential contact of the missing student and the Associate Director will be responsible for notifying the local law enforcement agency.
    3. Any internal or external communication by the university regarding the missing person will be coordinated by Public Safety, University Relations, and the local police department.
    4. University Relations or its designee shall serve as the spokesperson of the university to internal and external constituents on these cases.

RESIDENCE LIFE POLICY STATEMENT

Based on Federal Law, the University of St. Thomas is required to give resident students the opportunity to provide the name and telephone number of a person that can be contacted should they be reported missing from campus. Residents will be notified of this opportunity by the Department of Residence Life at the beginning of each semester. In addition, all students are notified of this opportunity when registering for class. Students can provide this information by logging into the Murphy Online Information System, visiting the “Personal Information” section and then adding or updating their “Missing Person Contact/s.”
In the event the Department of Residence Life is contacted concerning a resident student gone missing, Residence Life will gather preliminary information. The Department of Public Safety will then be notified as it is the primary department at the University of St. Thomas responsible for the response, investigation and coordination of missing persons.