Law Enforcement
Chapter 2

Key Points

1. You and law enforcement are partners in pursuit of a common goal -- finding your lost or abducted child -- and as partners, you need to establish a relationship that is based on mutual respect, trust, and honesty.

2. Most law enforcement officers do not have firsthand experience working on child abduction cases, so if you feel that your child's disappearance has been classified inappropriately, speak to the officer's supervisor.

3. In the beginning of the investigation, be prepared for extensive law enforcement presence in your home.

4. Keep the telephone and beeper numbers of your primary law enforcement contact in a convenient location, and choose a time of day for that person to call you with information, realizing that there will be days when your investigator has nothing to report. Designate one person in your family to talk to your contact so investigators can devote their time to the actual search.

5. Law enforcement may not be able to tell you everything about your case, because full disclosure could jeopardize the investigation.

6. Be prepared for difficult, personal, repeated questions from investigators. Answer each question as honestly and completely as you can.

7. Do not question your children yourself. Especially with younger children, insist that a law enforcement officer who is trained in interviewing children conduct the interview.

8. Volunteer early to take a polygraph test, and ask that both parents be tested at the same time by different interviewers, or one after another.

9. Because an abductor is often known by the family, insist that anyone close to the child be interviewed. Share any suspicions with law enforcement so they can be checked out.

10. Satisfy yourself that law enforcement is handling your case properly.

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OJJDP Report: When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide, May 1998