Training Program Connects Law Enforcement with Cutting Edge Missing and Unidentified Person Technology

By: Jennifer Styles, Guest Blogger, Project Specialist, Volunteers in Police Service

In 1987, a California 14-year-old was reported missing. Twenty-five years later, a Maricopa County, Arizona, investigator tied the boy’s case to that of an unidentified body of a teenager killed in a car crash outside of Phoenix six months after the California teenager’s missing person report. When family DNA proved a match, the boy’s family finally found closure and the 25 year-old cold case was closed.

In August 2012, the Maricopa County investigator was a participant in the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) Pilot Project Training. Following the course, he worked closely with a NamUs Analyst to make the most of the investigative resources available to help him solve the case.

Since 2012, IACP’s VIPS Program has partnered with NamUs, a program of the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNT) to offer five trainings in Arizona and California. The course educates law enforcement officers and VIPS volunteers on using NamUs and other resources to help support missing person and unidentified decedent cases. The courses reached 377 participants representing 86 law enforcement agencies.

On March 5, 2013, VIPS and UNT will offer an additional session of the training in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The course is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Assistance, and it is being offered at no cost to participants. For registration information, click here.

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