January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017
Posted on 01/10/2017

Missing Juvenile and Reverse 911 calls to community.

Last night, this department was seeking a missing 14 year old juvenile who had left his residence, in 18 degree weather, without a coat or shoes. While we take all missing juvenile investigations seriously, the severe weather conditions posed added urgency.

As a result of this urgency, the decision was made to utilize reverse 911 calls in a specific area in order to alert residents to the situation. The initial reverse 911 call was made in a 1/4 radius of the juvenile's home at around 9:00PM. At 11:15 PM, with no sign of the missing young man and on advice of search and tracking experts who advised he could have travelled up to 2.5 miles, the decision was made to do another call within the 2.5 mile radius.

The extreme community interest in the case, evidenced by more than 86,000 Facebook hits, resulted in dozens of citizens showing up at the Command Post or spontaneously driving the township's roads looking for the juvenile.

When he was eventually found at around 12:30AM, it was known that more than 12,000 people had been notified via various methods and that many people, on their own, were driving the roads and walking neighborhoods looking for him. In an effort to get notification out to everyone, including volunteers, that he'd been located and to bring closure to the many of people following the progress of the investigation, the decision was made to do a final call to advise everyone of him being located.

We understand that many people felt inconvenienced by the final call which some received as late at 1:03AM, however it was a decision based in the desire to notify unaccounted-for volunteers and others who were calling in tips that the investigation had been resolved.

The reverse 911 system is technology that is available to emergency services and that technology is used very sparingly for true emergent situations. We believe a life threatening situation for a 14 year-old fit that use.

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