Sexual battery, child abuse, and missing persons investigations require a specially trained and dedicated cadre of investigators sensitized to dealing with intensely personal and emotionally charged situations. In the City of Miami, this specialized investigative team is assigned to the Special Victims Unit, an element of the Criminal Investigations Division’s Criminal Investigations Section.
The personnel assigned to this Unit are charged with the investigations of all allegations of sexual battery, child abuse, abuse of the elderly, lewd and lascivious behavior in the presence of a minor and incidents of missing persons. The focus of their investigations is to establish all the facts, evidence and supporting statements relevant to the crime by a thorough and careful assembly of the case from information provided by the victim and witnesses and all collateral and corroborative sources of information. Physical evidence, photographs, DNA materials, clothing, and fingerprints are collected to provide an objective background to the allegation. The investigators apply effective and timely investigative procedures that will lead to the identification of the perpetrator, establishment of probable cause and apprehension of the offender. Paramount throughout this entire process is the utilization of extremely minimally threatening intervention processes to safeguard the rights and personal dignity of the victim. When the report of a possible missing person or "runaway" is received in the Unit, detectives from the Missing Persons Detail initiate the investigations necessary for locating this persons quickly and safely.
The Unit’s investigators, utilizing a Florida Department of Law Enforcement register of sexual predators and sexual offenders, are responsible for monitoring the locations of both sexual predators and sexual offenders residing within the City of Miami. The investigators conduct monthly visits to the sexual predators and sexual offenders to ensure total compliance with all aspects of their requirement to register their place of residence. The investigators assigned to the Missing Persons Detail take vital and timely actions in initiating the appropriate actions in response to mising persons and locating endangered children as well as maintaining a current file on regional missing persons.
Unit investigators participate in the interagency LEACH Task Force whose goals are the successful identification, apprehension, and prosecution of child molesters, child pornographers, child pornography collectors or distributors, child abusers, and sexual offenders who target children. In addition, Unit personnel conduct investigations into Internet pornography crime.
The Missing Persons Detail is an element of the Criminal Investigations Section's Special Victims Unit. A team-oriented staff, the Detail is charged with the responsibilities of assisting first responding units in matters pertaining to the reporting and processing of missing persons; investigation of endangered children and elderly persons; and providing a children's safety program to the City of Miami community.
With the focus on missing persons' investigations, the Detail designed the "Imminent Rescue Rapid Scene Response" plan. This comprehensive investigative approach integrates the utilization of specially equipped vehicles with laptop computers, wireless communication and multi-function printers with an exhaustive array of check list guides, databases, forms and links grouped in an easily accessible program format.
This response plan facilitates the rapid dissemination of information through flyers created at the scene and e-mailed to the media. In addition, the response check list guide and its complementary components optimize the rescue effort by providing clear procedures, coordination, activation of resources and investigative tools.
An equally important function of the Detail is to provide safety programs to the community to prevent children abductions and to minimize the risks associated with elderly persons walking away from their assisted living facilities.
The Miami Police Department's Juvenile Unit is unveiling its "Imminent Rescue" Rapid Scene Response Program approach to the investigation of endangered missing children. The objective of "Imminent Rescue" is to significantly expedite the investigation and recovery of endangered missing children. "Imminent Rescue" is a "state of the art" investigative approach, which utilizes enhanced field procedures supported by advanced computer technologies and programs mounted on a mobile platform.
The "Imminent Rescue" Program provides the investigator with a computer generated exhaustive procedural check list that ensures detailed processing and investigation of the missing child's case. In missing children's cases, time is critical and the "Imminent Rescue" approach, utilizing a appropriately programmed laptop computer, significantly minimizes the time required to setup, obtain, process and distribute vital information to external resources and law enforcement agencies. The mapping program capability supports a progressive perimeter expansion as the search effort develops, and allows the on-going monitoring of personnel assignments, enlistment of area business assets, identification of hazardous areas, as well as a plotting function to highlight relevant data points such as residences of registered sexual offenders. The "Imminent Rescue" interactive database can be rapidly updated and supports timely analysis as the case develops.
Phase Two of the "Imminent Rescue" Program focuses on timely and wide distribution of information regarding the missing child to law enforcement agencies across the country. Flyers are dissminated immediately via the internet utilizing the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's LOCATER (Lost Child Alert Technology Resources) Program. The produced posters are posted throughout the Miami Police Department. Additionally, The Pepsi-Cola Company, through it's Frito Lay distribution process, delivers flyers to commercial establishments throughout South Florida. Utilizing the internet, flyers are posted on web sites dedicated to missing children. Email alerts are forwarded to volunteer groups, businesses, churches, and other organizations.
When time is critical, the "Imminent Rescue" Program becomes absolutely essential in supporting the investigative process and immediate dissemination of vital information to law enforcement agencies nationwide. The search process is initiated effectively and immediately.
Click Here to Download the Imminent Rescue Child Identification Card Brochure
Click Here to Download the Imminent Rescue Adult-At-Risk Identification Card Brochure
(Endangered School Children Alert Plan For Evasion)
The City of Miami Police Department, with the cooperation of the Miami-Dade School Police Department, is coordinating a national program which will activate an immediate response from law enforcement when ana abducted child utilizes the 911 emergency number with his/her Student ID Number.
In the event that a child is missing or abducted, the ID-ESCAPE training will provide the child with a tool that will aid in his/her escape. Teaching students to use their Student ID Number to identify them as victims of an abduction, facilitates their recovery by law enforcement.