McDaniel collects info for Missing Persons Database

Paige Price

Staff Reporter

In 1990, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act was passed after a female student was murdered at Lehigh University.

This act, better known as the Federal Clery Act, is the reason McDaniel students received an email from Campus Safety on September 14. This Email informed students of the Missing Persons Database and stated that the information would only be used in the event of one’s disappearance.

The database, which is in the form of a qualtrics survey, is straightforward and takes only a few minutes to complete. The questions cover the basic topics like the student’s address, phone number, and emergency contacts. Mike Webster, the Director of Campus Safety, said that the challenge of implementing a database is designing the info-structure. “We needed to find a way to send it, receive it, and save it,” said Webster.

The interesting aspect about the database is that the student can choose who they want to be contacted first, if they were to ever go missing. Some students may not want their parents or guardians to be contacted first and therefore, may choose close friends or significant others to be the emergency contacts.

“There is no reason to wait,” said Webster, when asked about working on a missing persons report. The law allows 24 hours before they can even sign a missing persons report. Webster said that when Campus Safety gets a call about a missing student they start investigating within the hour.

Campus Safety gets approximately 3-5 missing persons calls a year. These calls can be from parents who are worried about their son or daughter who call them every day, but for some reason did not call that day due to various purposes other than being missing. The calls are also usually from roommates or friends who have not seen or heard from the student all day and are becoming worried.

When a missing persons situation occurs the protocol is to do a brief investigation and try to locate the student. During this time they would ask the student’s roommate or close friend if they have heard or seen the student.

If that fails, Campus Safety would call the local jails and hospitals and then go on to call the student’s emergency contacts. If an hour has passed and the student was not found, the Westminster Police would become involved in the case.

The response from students for this database was huge. Within 24 hours of the email being sent, there were at least 160 responses. Sophomore Ellie Bissel said she filled it out the because,“If I ever go missing, the information is right there and I did my part to be found.”

However, many students still need to respond. “I think everything that Campus Safety sends is important, but I haven’t gotten around to filling it out,” said junior, Tim Kenny.

If a student were to ever go missing, students and parents can have peace of mind knowing that McDaniel Campus Safety has the knowledge, and now the resources, to be able to find a student.