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What Does the Sheriff's Department Do When a Missing Person Report Is Filed?


    • Once a missing person report has been filed, the Sheriff's Department will likely place the person into a specific classification. Although categories may differ with each department, common classifications include: disability, endangered, juvenile, involuntary and catastrophe.

    National Database

    • The missing person's name will likely be added to the national database of missing persons. The National Crime Information Center maintains a computerized database of missing persons; the database is available to all law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.

    Threat Assessment

    • Based on the details of the missing person report, the Sheriff's Department will determine whether the individual is a threat to himself or others. The department will also determine whether foul play is involved.


    • In critical cases, the Sheriff's Department will likely bring the missing person report to the attention of other outlets. These outlets commonly include: law enforcement agencies, schools, businesses, transportation centers, medical facilities, fire stations, neighborhood watch groups and the media.

    Active Search

    • If foul play is expected or if the missing person is deemed a significant threat, the Sheriff's department will engage in an active search. This search will likely include searching for evidence and interviewing potential witnesses.

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