Simple form can help police find missing kids quicker

Mar 23, 2022, 6:07 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 5:23 pm

MAPLETON, Utah – It’s unthinkable for parents. Finding out a child is missing. It’s critical for police to have important information about a missing child as quickly as possible and Utah law enforcement is using a form to gather that information even before it’s needed.

People search for things all the time, a new house, a new restaurant, maybe a good deal at the mall.

However, when that search is for a missing child, minutes count. 

“Frantic. Most of the time, frantic,” said Phil Bringhurst. 

Bringhurst is a lieutenant with the Mapleton Police Department in Utah County and has seen it before in his 17-year career. 

“For the most part, we just tried to keep the family calm. I mean, honestly, nine times out of 10 kids are found in their own homes,” he said. 

It’s that one time, though, parents always worry about. 

It’s also where good information about their child can help a detective get the word out. 

“Absolutely. Yeah. The more information we have the better,” said Lt. Bringhurst. 

When several cardboard boxes full of envelopes arrived at the Mapleton Police Department recently, Bringhurst knew any future missing children’s cases might be easier. 

In those envelopes were child identification kits. 

It’s a form where parents keep a photo of their child, a DNA sample from placing their lips on a piece of paper, even a place for fingerprints, medical information, and any identifying marks. 

The idea is if a child is missing, this information is ready to go as soon as the first detective arrives. 

“As quick as we can get it off these cards. It’s just that much quicker. We can get the information out there if we need to,” said Lt. Bringhurst. 

The kits aren’t just for infants or young children.

 They’re also for teenagers.

 There have been a few cases in Utah the past few weeks of missing children and an Amber Alert.

 Kits like these help police, but only if a parent or guardian fills them out.

“If they have that, hopefully, they’re thinking clear enough to hand it to us, and we can get them calmed down. And if it gets that bad point. We’ll handle it from there,” said Lt. Bringhurst. 

Mapleton received 2,600 kits from the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which sent them to police departments throughout Utah. 

They’re free for parents to pick up or arrange to have them delivered.

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Simple form can help police find missing kids quicker