Police Reform - Establish Missing Persons Units (Community Policing)

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Jason Jensen
Jason Jensen signed this petition

LOPINE "CHYNNA" TOILOLO AND CALL TO ACTION LESSONS LEARNED: It's a real tragedy what happened to Chynna Toilolo, and we grieve for the family, but under the circumstances, justice will be served because of the quick action on the part of the family, not the police (However, they did their job once a body was discovered).

What my 26 years experience has taught me concerning missing persons, especially the initial 48 hours, that time is critical for better police interaction with members of the community, search organizers, records keepers of phone carriers and other resources that may have information critical in the event someone goes missing or abducted.  

When the police informed the Toilolo family they couldn't do anything to help "because adults have a right to disappear" and refused to open a missing persons case, the family launched their own investigation by accessing Chynna's phone records and checking account promptly.  That singular step made a difference in Chynna's case, but not everyone is so lucky to have quick thinking family members who knew better.  

Valuable lessons are learned here:
(1) Police agencies need reform, in that they truly need a Missing Persons Unit or for smaller departments an officer assigned to missing persons cases specifically because banking and cellular phone records should be accessed immediately under the Community Caretaker Doctrine exception to the Fourth Amendment;
(2) if the police can't help, or won't help, the family should jump into action just as the Toilolo family did. Phone carriers will only keep records for a very short time unless professional prompted to preserve records otherwise. (Upon request, I have a Preservation of Records Request); and
(3) if the family needs help there are resources and volunteer organizations such as We Help The Missing and the Utah Cold Case Coalition, or they can even hire a private investigator who has experience in finding missing persons.