Missing College Student

Policy

It is the policy of the Alfred State College University Police to comply with the NYS Campus Safety Act of 1999.  In doing so, University Police must conduct a swift and thorough investigation for any report of a missing college student.  This investigation must include continued consultation with family members regarding the status of the case.

Definitions

Missing College Student - is any person "who is a student of an institution (college or university)...who resides in a facility owned or operated by such institution and is reported as missing from his or her residence."  There is no age limit. 

Missing Child - is any person under the age of 18 at the time of disappearance.  The age may be expanded at the discretion of law enforcement if the person is mentally incompetent or the case involves abduction or endangerment.

Procedures

  • Missing college student cases shall be handled the same and investigated in the same manner as missing child cases.
  • The initial response is to gather sufficient information to determine what has occurred.   During this investigation nothing should be assumed and everything should be verified. 
  • The Alfred Village Police should be included in the investigation from the early stages of the investigation in order to increase the amount of available resources working on the case.
  • The responding officer must determine what probably occurred based on his or her initial observations and findings.  Whether correct or incorrect, this determination will dictate what investigative steps will follow.
  • If an abduction has occurred, a thorough and aggressive investigation must commence immediately.  This involves obtaining assistance from several other regional agencies and ensuring that efforts are well coordinated.
  • If an abduction is not suspected, investigating officers can take appropriate methodical action to resolve the matter. 
  • The initial assessment of a missing student case should include the following ten considerations:
    • Is the student missing from the campus, his or her family residence or other location? 
    • Is there a witness to or physical evidence of an abduction or other foul play?
    • Is the student despondent?  Is the student mentally or physically disabled?
    • Is the student experiencing academic, personal or financial problems?
    • Has the student disappeared before?
    • Does the student have a known drug and/or alcohol problem?
    • Has the student received any threats or warnings?
    • What is the student's lifestyle?  Does the student have a criminal record?
    • Did the student or perpetrator leave a note?
    • Have any similar incidents been reported within the area (e.g., attempted abductions, prowlers, suspicious persons)?
  • The responding officer, after assessing the initial report details, should determine what level of response will be required.  If the chance exists that the case is a missing student case (or missing child case), the responding officer will contact a supervisor immediately.
  • The department will then conduct a thorough and timely investigation into the incident.  It is important that involved staff utilize the printed manual called Missing College Student Cases - An investigative Guide as published by DCJS in 2002.  This guide will provide valuable checklists and resource information to ensure that University Police is providing the best response without allowing any variables to go unchecked.  Time is of the essence in these cases.
  • University Police will contact college administration to alert them to the case as needed, in accordance with the college emergency management plan, in order to make notification and preparation for appropriate media releases.