State updates its website for missing persons
DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Public Safety is relaunching its Missing Person Information Clearinghouse website after making some upgrades.
Medina Rahmanovic says the iowamissingpersons.com site now has a comprehensive search feature. “Where you can search the entire website — if you just want to search for a race, if you want to search for a certain gender, hair color, height, weight, all the different identifiers,” she explains.
Rahmanovic says it lets you be very specific in searching for someone. “Let’s say you think you saw someone that’s missing from the Des Moines area. So you can just search the Des Moines Police Department and that will pull up all the individuals who were reported to the Des Moines Police Department,” Rahmanovic says.
She says the number of missing people on the site is constantly changing. “We’re somewhere between three and 400 daily. And that includes longtime missing and then individuals who are reported missing and then return today,” Rahmovic says. “So the website is updated daily — every four hours — and so if somebody returns we immediately take them out of the system, which removes them from the public website.”
She says is no mandatory time someone has to be gone before they can go on the site. “As soon as somebody realizes that a loved one is missing — they should call local law enforcement and make a report,” Rahmanovic says.
Some of the people on the site have been missing for decades. Rahmanovic says it is important they are still on the site to keep people aware. “No matter if you’ve been missing for two hours, two days, four days or 20 years — it’s extremely important to keep that information out there,” according to Rahmanovic. “Someone might remember something that they have not brought to law enforcement’s attention. Keeping that information out there and resharing it, we definitely do see tips come in on long-term missing as well.”
Rahmanovic says they can use all the information available for the site. “If you have a loved one and they are on our public website but they are missing a photograph. We would love if you would send a photograph to us directly or to the local police department or sheriff’s office in your area and share that very important piece of information with us,” Rahmanovic says. More than 75% of the missing persons do not have photos available to display.