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Missing Persons & Child Exploitation Unit
View the Missing Persons List Unidentified Persons / Bodies New Jersey's AMBER Alert Plan
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(609) 882-2000 ext. 2554


Missing Persons Investigative Best Practices Protocol - [pdf]

The Missing Persons Unit was established by legislation in 1984, is one of the few law enforcement units in the United States which comprehensively addresses the many facets of the missing persons problem.

Among its many roles, the Missing Persons Unit was legislatively charged with the responsibility of coordinating and investigating cases involving missing persons, unidentified living and deceased individuals. The unit also collects and maintains a centralized database on all missing and unidentified persons who are reported in New Jersey. The Missing Persons Unit provides investigative and technical service to law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey on various aspects of missing and unidentified person investigations. The unit is also responsible for providing specialized training to law enforcement personnel and medical examiners throughout the state. By virtue of their investigative activities, the Missing Persons Unit began to observe a strong correlation between runaway children and the sexual exploitation of these children either before or during the runaway episode. In response to this tragic situation, a squad was created within the Unit to investigate the sexual exploitation of children in the state. The Child Exploitation Squad has gained national recognition for their expertise in proactively addressing this problem. The Missing Persons Unit is the designated clearinghouse by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (NCMEC). The NCMEC is a private nonprofit organization, established in 1984 under a congressional mandate and spearheads national efforts to locate and recover missing children and raises public awareness about ways to prevent child abduction, molestation and sexual exploitation.

As a result of the Hague Convention, the International Treaty governing the return of internationally parental abducted children to the country of their habitual residence, and the Units designation as a NCMEC clearinghouse, the United States State Department considers the Missing Persons Unit the point agency in New Jersey on parental abduction.

The Missing Persons Unit developed New Jersey's AMBER Alert Plan to provide rapid notification to the public of an abducted child. The Amber Alert Plan utilizes the television and radio systems' Emergency Broadcast System to notify the public of a missing child.

The Safe Haven Protection Act allows for the anonymous drop off of unwanted infants under 30 days old to a police department or a hospital. The Division of Youth and Family Services will immediately take the child into custody to ensure the child's safety. The Missing Persons Unit serves as the lead law enforcement agency in every "Safe Haven Infant Protection" case, as per Attorney General's Law Enforcement Directive 2001-4.


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