BACKGROUND

The Endangered Person Notification System (EPNS) was signed into law by the governor on 5/28/2010 (South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 23-3-30).

The purpose of the Endangered Person Notification System is to provide a statewide system for the rapid dissemination of information regarding a missing person who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.

If the Missing Persons Information Center (MPIC) at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) receives a report from a local law enforcement agency that involves a missing person who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment, for the protection of the person from potential abuse or other physical harm, neglect, or exploitation, the center shall issue a notification providing for the appropriate dissemination of information regarding the person. The request has to be from a law enforcement agency.

The EPNS notifies a group of state agencies, local broadcasters and other media outlets that have agreed to rapidly disseminate an Endangered Person Advisory (EPA) to the public to assist in the recovery only when the criteria are met and there is enough information available.

ACTIVATION CRITERIA

Endangered Person Notification System (EPNS) activation shall be based on the following criteria:
  • Law Enforcement confirms that the missing person is believed to be suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairment.
  • Law Enforcement concludes that the disappearance poses a credible threat to the person’s welfare and safety, or a threat to the public’s safety.
  • A legal custodian of the missing person has submitted a missing person's report to the local law enforcement agency where the person went missing.
The MPIC will activate the SCDOT dynamic message signs if:
  • There is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the missing person: such as photographs and confirmed vehicle/tag information.
  • Law Enforcement has already activated a local or regional advisory by contacting media outlets in their jurisdiction and/or surrounding jurisdictions.
  • Law Enforcement acknowledges use of the statewide dynamic message signs may be the only possible way to rescue the missing endangered person.
IF CRITERIA ARE MET, the requesting law enforcement agency will:
  • Enter the missing person into NCIC using the proper message key: Missing (MNP), Endangered Missing (EME) code; if available enter vehicle as being wanted.
  • The initial requesting agency sends an NLETS message to law enforcement enforcement/911centers.
  • Make sure dispatchers or call takers are prepared to handle phone calls. Consider allocating additional resources from other law enforcement agencies.
  • Appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO) to handle the media. Once the advisory has been activated, media coverage may be overwhelming, especially for a small department. The PIO should be constantly updated to utilize the media as much as possible and receive the maximum exposure for the case.
  • • Contact the Missing Persons Information Center (MPIC) at (803)896-7133, if the criteria are met to activate a statewide Endangered Person Advisory (EPA). If criteria are not met, the agency may contact SLED’s Operation Desk for assistance and use of other possible resources to assist in a safe recovery. (803)896-7133 available24/7

The Endangered Person Notification System does not preclude any in-house procedures, policies, or practices used by each law enforcement agency.

Following a request to activate an Endangered Person Advisory (EPA):
  • MPIC contacts SCDOT to activate the dynamic message signs statewide if requesting agency determines criteria are met.
  • MPIC sends the Endangered Person Advisory (EPA) to broadcasters and media outlets to disseminate to the public. MPIC sends the Endangered Person Advisory (EPA) to all SC law enforcement agencies.

CANCELLATION

  • The initial requesting agency requests cancellation of the Endangered Person Notification by contacting the MPIC at (803)896-7133 and by sending confirmation of the cancellation by email or fax. MPIC immediately contacts the South Carolina Department of Transportation to discontinue use of the dynamic message signs.
  • The initial requesting agency sends an NLETS message to law enforcement/911 centers that the notification has been cancelled and removes the endangered missing person from NCIC; and if previously entered, removes vehicle information.
  • By email, the MPIC will notify broadcasters, media outlet and law enforcement to cancel the notification.

OTHER RESOURCES

for additional assistance in the recovery of an endangered missing person

MedicAlert + Safe Return with the Alzheimer’s Association - For assistance with a wandering incident call 1.800.625.3780 www.alz.org/safereturn

A Child is Missing Alert – a recorded telephone message launched within a certain target area to help find missing children, elderly (with Alzheimer’s) or disabled individuals. Free to law enforcement agencies. 888.875.2246 or 954.763.4569 www.achildismissing.org

SECTION 23-3-330 Endangered Person Notification System

(A) The Endangered Person Notification System is established within the Missing Person Information Center. The purpose of the Endangered Person Notification System is to provide a statewide system for the rapid dissemination of information regarding a missing person who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.

(B) If the center receives a report that involves a missing person who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment, for the protection of the person from potential abuse or other physical harm, neglect, or exploitation, the center shall issue a notification providing for the appropriate dissemination of information regarding the person.

(C) The center shall adopt guidelines and develop procedures for issuing notifications for missing persons believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment, provide education and training to local law enforcement agencies, and encourage radio and television broadcasters to participate in the notifications.

(D) The center shall consult with the Department of Transportation and develop a procedure for the use of overhead permanent changeable message signs to provide information on a missing person who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment when the person's vehicle and license tag information is available. The Department of Transportation shall utilize current protocol for the content, length, and frequency of any message to be placed on an overhead permanent changeable message sign.

HISTORY: 2010 Act No. 192, Section 4, eff May 28, 2010.