Require Law Enforcement to Share Missing Persons Files with NonSuspect Immediate Family
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Leading Law Enforcement Agencies seem to be able to choose what information to disclose to non suspect immediate family members (such as spouses, parents, siblings and their children) what information to disclose in regard to reported missing persons cases, how much information, often this information is disclosed, and if they choose to disclose any information at all.
These loved ones not only suffer while their missing person remains missing, but this can last days, weeks, months, years and an entire lifetime without any information or updates on their case at all.
The believe in the system is that these public bodies have a duty not only to serve the community, but those that are needing answers to their missing loved ones. It is the believe of the communities that these cases are being worked on, that someone is doing something. How is the community supposed to feel that way when there is minimal information initially reported, none of the files are released, even after Freedom of Information Acts are submitted, with either no response, or partially responded to?
As it is stated:
It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business.
- Illinois Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/1.
Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of government, it is declared to be the public policy of the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees consistent with the terms of this Act. Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest.
- Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan believes that an open, honest and accountable government, the cornerstone of a democracy, can be achieved only through the free and open exchange of information between government and the public. In Illinois, our most important transparency laws – the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA) – endeavor to open the workings of government to the public, shed light on government actions and, in the process, strengthen our democracy.
In 2009, Attorney General Madigan worked with legislators and open government advocates to draft and pass landmark legislation (Senate Bill 189, Public Act 096-0542) to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act to increase the transparency and accountability of governments at all levels. This law went into effect on January 1, 2010 and provides new tools and provisions to make certain the public has timely access to public records and public meetings.
We do believe the law states that
We are requesting the following for this petition:
(1) That the immediate members of a reported missing person including (non suspect) spouses, children, parents and siblings receive (a) the initial missing persons report and case number (b) updated progress and investigations in the case (c) details of bank, cell phone records, social media accounts and any additional information that can relieve these families with understanding and belief that these cases are actively being worked.
(2) Alternatively that this information can be given to Missing Persons Awareness Network, a non profit, 501(c)3 organization for all children and adult missing persons across Illinois, to keep privacy records of these cases so that it is acknowledged that (a) these cases are being worked by law enforcement, (b) that law enforcement works with this organization in working with the community (c) share awareness of these cases (d) members of this organization be allowed the information for searches, awareness, and networking with other investigation agencies and law enforcement officers that volunteer their time to assist in solving these cases.
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