Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office


Des Moines, IOWA --- Today law enforcement across the state gathered with advocacy groups to announce the creation of the Iowa Endangered Persons Advisory (EPA). This structured advisory system was cooperatively created to help local law enforcement alert their local media and communities when an endangered person goes missing.

Occasionally, Iowans with cognitive impairments or seniors with medical conditions like dementia or Alzheimer's unexpectedly wander away from their home or caregivers. These events cause stress and fear for family who are frantically looking for their loved one, and can be life-threatening for the individual who goes missing. To help assuage the fears of family members and more quickly recover the missing, the EPA was created. The advisory system has a structured set of criteria and procedures that may be utilized by local law enforcement to decide when public and media notification is necessary.

EPA Criteria:

  • Is the person missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances?
  • Is the person believed to be in danger because of age, health, mental or physical disability, environment, weather conditions or in the company of a potentially dangerous person or some other factor that may put the person in danger or serious bodily injury or death; and
  • Is there enough information available such as a current photograph/image of the person that issuing an Endangered Person Advisory could assist in the safe recovery of the missing person?

Once the EPA criteria are met, local law enforcement are directed to make several critical law enforcement database entries to ensure officers in the surrounding areas are on the look-out for the endangered person. An investigation is quickly begun and the missing person's information is entered into the state-wide missing person's database. Local law enforcement is also strongly encouraged to designate a public information officer and begin working with local media to gain public assistance in recovering the missing person. The public outreach can be done on the local level with local media, or on a state-wide level in coordination with the Department of Public Safety, depending on how far investigators believe the endangered person has traveled.

In an effort to assist local law enforcement agencies in their use and execution of this new Endangered Persons Advisory, the Alzheimer's Association, Iowa Department of Public Safety, Chiefs Association and Sheriffs and Deputies Association are working to extend educational classes and materials to officers across the state. These critical partnerships and outreach efforts will ensure successful execution of the EPA and more timely recovery of Iowa's endangered.

To learn more about the Endangered Person Alert, its partners in creation and endangered persons in Iowa, click here.


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