North Bay’s Police Chief says the Ford government’s Missing Persons Act “really modernizes” the ability of police services to look for missing people.
Scott Tod recalls the problems he encountered regularly earlier in his career when looking for someone who had gone missing.
Tod says it was frustrating trying to get bank records or having access to cell phone records and other pieces of information that could help police find that missing person faster.
“This legislation is very beneficial,” Todd said.
“We collect information so many different ways now on a missing person compared to five and 10 years ago.”
Tod says the legislation gives police quick access to things like the person’s cell phone or credit card information.
Tod also welcomes elements of the legislation that protects a person who went missing in an effort to start a new life somewhere else.
Tod says while he can’t comment on specific missing people cases, going forward, the legislation will help with all of the department’s missing persons cases.
The legislation creates tools for police they never had earlier in time.
For example, in an urgent situation where a person has gone missing, police can make a demand for records without a court order.
Police can also get a court order to enter dwellings in connection with a missing person when there is no evidence that a crime has been committed and they can also get copies of records that would help them in their search.
Under the Act police services have to report on an annual basis the number of times they made an urgent demand request for records.
This measure is to ensure transparency and accountability on the part of the police department.
Tod says last year nearly 7,500 people went missing but adds most revealed their whereabouts within the first 24 hours of the missing person report.