The truth cannot hide...

Missing Kids – how NCMEC and Team Adam help


Day 12, US research trip, Believe No One

Believe No One takes Fennimore & Simms to the United States Mid West.
These blogs document the places we visited and people we met during the research trip.

Saturday, 12th May 2012

In Believe No One, kids are missing. It’s a plausible scenario, we learn. On the FBI’s website, the National Crime Information Centre (NCIC)’s Missing Person File holds ‘records on individuals, including children, who have been reported missing to law enforcement and there is a reasonable concern for their safety.

FBI Missing Persons file med

The FBI’s stats for 2012 show that there are nearly 500 000 children under the age of 18 missing, of whom 48 000 may be in physical danger. See NCIC for full details. The NCIC database is available to Federal, state, and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies and is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Records in the Missing Person File are retained indefinitely, until the individual is located or the record is cancelled by the entering agency.

If a child is flashed as missing up on NCIC someone at the national centre will contact the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and the nearest Team Adam consultant will be called in. Watch the video at this location for a comprehensive analysis of the work that NCMEC and Team Adam does.

From NCMEC site: ‘Team Adam provides rapid, on-site assistance to law enforcement agencies and families in cases of missing, abducted, and exploited children. Its members are retired law-enforcement professionals with years of investigative experience at the federal, state, and local level. Team Adam Consultants rapidly deploy to sites where cases are unfolding, providing on-the-ground technical assistance and connecting local law enforcement with a national network of resources.

Team Adam’s unique access to the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children resources, coupled with their years of command post and multi-jurisdictional law enforcement experience, very often provides small- or medium-sized departments with the tools they need to handle complex, media-intensive cases. They suggest, help, facilitate – they do not ‘take over’ an investigation.

Team Adam can help law enforcement with: Search & Rescue, Computer Forensics, Technical Support, Investigation and Analysis, Equipment & Resources.

And help families and guardians by providing: Family Advocacy Services, Personal Assistance, Child Safety Education, Stress Management, and Media Relations.

Joe Burgoon, who has been a Team Adam consultant since 2005, says he will often get a late night call from a case manager. S/he sends details, contact details of investigators etc. Posters are sent out (internet and physical). ‘When you get there, the ball is already rolling,’ he says. Some cops resent the Team Adam consultants because they’re not law enforcement, but he says, ‘You can usually hook up with a couple of guys who are more sympathetic and they’ll slip us some info.’  What sort of hours do they work? I ask. ‘When the investigative team is there, you’re there,’ he says. ‘When they go home, you go home.’  They take a laid back, hands off approach. The attitude is, ‘We’re here to help – what do you need?’

Team Adam helps agencies searching for kids who go missing from home or are abducted, but they also help to find children who are separated from families after natural disasters. NCMEC and Team Adam played an important role in reuniting every missing child with their families after Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans after Katrina, via the BBC

New Orleans after Katrina, via the BBC


For more images of the aftermath of Katrina, see the BBC News in Pictures




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