In Arizona, thousands of adults are reported missing each year. Some people have seen on television that you must wait 24 or even 72 hours to report someone missing. This is not true. There is no waiting period. In fact, the sooner you report a missing person, the sooner the police can get to work helping you find them. Very few missing adults are the victim of foul play or some other criminal act. Most missing persons are found or return home within just a few days. If any foul play is suspected the investigation changes and escalates accordingly.
Being a missing person is not a crime. Adults can be missing if they choose to. They can choose to leave work and ignore friends and family. Because of this, law enforcement is quite limited in what they can do. Even if law enforcement does locate the person, they cannot divulge any information about that person without specific permission from that person.
Requirements for listing a missing adult
Entering adults into the national database (NCIC), requires specific criteria. The missing person can be placed in the NCIC if they have a physical handicap or mental disability, they are missing involuntarily, are a victim of a catastrophe, or in some way endangered.
ICE and SMART Card programs
For senior citizens, the In Case of Emergency (ICE) events are held throughout the year. Participating adults receive a thumb drive or CD with their photo, fingerprints, and other information, to be used if they go missing.
The Sierra Vista Police Department also has a SMART Card program for at-risk persons, such as those with dementia or autism. To register an at-risk individual, contact the Sierra Vista Police Department any time by calling (520) 452-7500.