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0850.39 Missing, Runaway, Lost, or Disoriented Persons

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy number
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0850.39 Missing, Runaway, Lost, or Disoriented Persons


  • 42 USC 5779
  • ORS 163.225, Kidnapping in the second degree
  • ORS 163.235, Kidnapping in the first degree
  • ORS 163.245, Custodial interference in the second degree
  • ORS 163.257, Custodial interference in the first degree
  • ORS 181A.310, When notification of missing children clearinghouse required
  • ORS 181A.315, Amber Plan; rules
  • ORS 181A.320, Written policies relating to missing vulnerable adults required
  • OAR 257-015-0000, Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS)
  • DIR 0640.31, Custodial Interference
  • DIR 0850.10, Custody, Civil Holds
  • DIR 0850.20, Police Response to Mental Health Crisis
  • DIR 0850.30, Temporary Detention and Custody of Juveniles
  • DIR 0900.00, General Reporting Guidelines
  • BOEC Operations SOP 10.20.020 Amber Alert Plan (BOEC)


  • Abduction: Kidnapping or custodial interference.
  • Amber Alert: A statewide coordinated and cooperative notification and information-gathering system used to resolve child abduction or suspected child abduction incidents by broadcasting critical information to the media and the public.
  • At-Risk Factors: Facts or circumstances that suggest a missing person may be in danger. Examples include, but are not limited to: developmental disability, suicidal history, vulnerable medical condition, or suspicious circumstances.
  • High-Risk Factors: Facts or circumstances that indicate a missing person is in danger. Examples include, but are not limited to: Imminently suicidal, suspected or known abduction, or exigent and highly suspicious circumstances.
  • Juvenile Runaway: A juvenile who voluntarily left the custody of their parent or legal guardian.
  • Missing Person Networks: Databases available to law enforcement to obtain information related to missing person investigations. This includes the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Oregon Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) and the Oregon State Police Missing Children Clearinghouse.
  • Silver Alert: A statewide coordinated and cooperative notification and information gathering system used to broadcast information about missing vulnerable adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, brain injuries, or mental health conditions such as dementia.


  1. The Portland Police Bureau will thoroughly investigate and document all reports of missing persons. This directive establishes guidelines for initial member response, report writing, and the investigation for all reports of missing persons.


1. Reporting Requirements.

1.1. Mandatory Reporting.

1.1.1. All reports of Missing Persons require a police report, and must be documented as either a: Missing Person Report; Missing Person Report Declined; or Juvenile Runaway Report.

1.1.2. If a member declines a Missing Person Report for any reason, the member shall document the circumstances in a police report and indicate “Missing Person Report Declined” in the heading of their report. Members shall not decline a Missing Person Report for any person under age 21, regardless of the circumstances.

1.2. No Waiting Period.

1.2.1. There is no waiting period for accepting a report on a Missing Person.

1.3. Notifying Records.

1.3.1. Members shall contact Teletype/Records as soon as practical to enter a person as missing in LEDS/NCIC.

1.4. Separate Case Numbers.

1.4.1. Members shall assign separate case numbers for each reported Missing Person, except in custodial interference cases or Runaway cases when the Runaway leaves with their own infant child.

2. Initial Member Response.

2.1. Preliminary Investigation.

2.1.1. The responding member shall respond directly and promptly to the scene of the report for all juvenile Missing Persons and all vulnerable adult Missing Persons. Reports of a repeat Juvenile Runaway, without risk of endangerment, may be handled by phone response.

2.1.2. The responding member should determine when, where, and by whom the Missing Person was last seen, and gather information to determine the type of case, the need for additional resources, and identify any At-Risk or High-Risk factors.

2.1.3. At minimum, members shall attempt to obtain the following information: Missing Person’s name, date of birth, and complete physical description; Complete physical description shall include, when known and if applicable: gender, height, weight/build, skin, hair, and eye color, hair style, facial hair, clothing, and scars/marks/tattoos. Date, time, and location the Missing Person was last seen, and with/by whom; Direction of travel and relevant vehicle information, if applicable; Missing Person’s cellphone number and carrier, if available; Juvenile Missing Person or Juvenile Runaway’s legal guardian; and Existence of any open juvenile dependency or delinquency case.

2.2. Members shall advise the Reporting Party to call the non-emergency police phone number when the Missing Person returns or is located, unless the Missing Person is located by police.

2.3. Risk Assessment and Suspicious Circumstances.

2.3.1. Members should be aware that in any Missing Persons case with suspicious circumstances, the Missing Person’s home or location where they went missing could be a potential crime scene.

2.3.2. For reports of any Missing Persons where High-Risk factors are present, the responding member shall immediately notify a supervisor of the circumstances.

2.3.3. The supervisor shall review the circumstances and determine whether a description of the missing person should be immediately broadcast.

2.3.4. The supervisor shall determine whether a block by block search is necessary.

2.3.5. If the supervisor determines a block search is necessary, they shall notify the relief commander, who will assign additional members as needed.

2.3.6. The supervisor shall notify the Detective Division’s Missing Persons Detail Sergeant as soon as possible.

2.3.7. The involved precinct shall retain investigative responsibility as long as there is no suspicion of foul play.

2.3.8. If foul play is reasonably suspected, the Homicide Detail will take control of the investigation.

3. Recovery of Missing Persons.

3.1. Members shall document all recoveries of Missing Persons in a police report.

3.1.1. Members shall contact Teletype/Records as soon as practical to have the Missing Person’s status as missing cleared from LEDS/NCIC.

3.2. Members shall not clear any Missing Person if there is any documented history or suspected history of domestic violence or abuse between the Missing Person and the Reporting Party.

3.3. Members shall attempt to contact the Missing Person in-person or by phone to confirm their identity and welfare.

3.3.1. When contacting the Missing Person directly is not reasonable, members can rely on witness statements to verify the Missing Person’s identity, welfare, and location.

4. Missing Child Search.

4.1. If a child is reported missing and there are no suspicious circumstances, the responding member shall verify that a child is missing by thoroughly searching the location the child was reported missing from.

4.1.1. Members shall ask for consent to conduct a search of the child’s home and document the consent in a police report. If consent is refused, the member shall consult a supervisor.

4.2. If the child is not located, the member shall notify a supervisor of the circumstances and the supervisor will determine if a block search is necessary.

4.3. If the child is not located within a reasonable period of time, the supervisor shall contact the Detectives Homicide Unit supervisor.

4.4. The Detectives Homicide Unit supervisor or designee shall respond to the scene to assist the incident supervisor.

4.5. Upon the incident supervisor’s RU manager’s request, the Homicide Unit will assume command of the investigation.

5. Assisting Lost, Disoriented, Developmentally Disabled, Medically Fragile, or Vulnerable Persons.

5.1. Members may encounter or respond to calls involving adults who are unable to find their home or shelter.

5.1.1. In such situations, members shall make reasonable efforts to locate the person’s home, and should contact the Detective Cold Case Unit for guidance if needed.

5.1.2. If the member is unable to locate the person’s home or the person appears to be homeless, the member should attempt to obtain shelter services for the person.

6. Amber Alerts.

6.1. For an Amber Alert activation, all of the following criteria must be met:

6.1.1. Police reasonably believe an abduction has occurred, and the victim is a juvenile (17 years of age or younger);

6.1.2. Police reasonably believe the child is in imminent danger of serious physical injury or death;

6.1.3. A member has contacted the reporting party;

6.1.4. A sworn member with rank of Sergeant, Detective, or above, or their designee, authorizes the Amber Alert;

6.1.5. The child’s name and other critical information, including Child Abduction (CA) and Amber Alert (AA) flags, must be entered into NCIC.

6.2. Required Information:

6.2.1. Date, time, and location of abduction, vehicle description, and last known direction of travel, if applicable;

6.2.2. Name and date of birth of child and complete physical description;

6.2.3. Name and date of birth of abductor and complete physical description, if known; and

6.2.4. Details of abduction.

7. Requesting and Updating Amber and Silver Alerts.

7.1. Members shall request Amber and Silver Alerts by contacting the BOEC Dispatch Coordinator by phone or in person, and not via radio broadcast.

7.2. Members shall not refer to the Amber Alert or Silver Alert via radio broadcast until BOEC has processed the Amber/Silver Activation alert and made the alert public.

7.3. The member responsible for the investigation shall update BOEC regarding changes or deactivation of the Amber or Silver Alert.

8. Silver Alerts.

8.1. For a Silver Alert activation, all of the following criteria must be met:

8.1.1. Police reasonably believe a missing vulnerable adult is in danger of imminent physical injury or death;

8.1.2. There is adequate descriptive information available that, if shared with the public, could help locate the vulnerable adult or their vehicle;

8.1.3. A member has contacted the reporting party;

8.1.4. A sworn member with rank of Sergeant, Detective, or above, or their designee, authorizes the Silver Alert; and

8.1.5. The vulnerable adult’s name and other critical information, including the Silver Alert (SA) flag, must be entered in NCIC.

8.2. Required Information.

8.2.1. Date, time, and location the vulnerable adult went missing, including vehicle description and last known direction of travel, if applicable;

8.2.2. Name and date of birth of the vulnerable adult and complete physical description; and

8.2.3. Vulnerable adult’s cellphone number and carrier, if available.

9. Amber and Silver Alert Notification Requirements.

9.1. If a member reasonably believes they should activate an Amber Alert or Silver Alert, they shall notify the Missing Persons Detail Unit as soon as possible.

9.2. The member authorizing an alert activation, or their designee, shall notify the Assistant Chief of Investigations, through channels, and the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the notification.

Effective: December 29, 2022

Next Review: December 29, 2024

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