130th Ohio General Assembly
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(127th General Assembly)
(Substitute Senate Bill Number 87)



AN ACT
To amend sections 2901.30 and 2901.42 and to enact section 5502.522 of the Revised Code to create the statewide emergency alert program to aid in the identification and location of missing individuals who have a mental impairment or are sixty-five years of age or older and to establish activation criteria for the implementation of the program and to make changes in the Missing Persons Law relating to missing persons between the ages of 18 and 21 and missing children under age 18.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1. That sections 2901.30 and 2901.42 be amended and section 5502.522 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 2901.30.  (A) As used in sections 2901.30 to 2901.32 of the Revised Code:

(1) "Information" means information that can be integrated into the computer system and that relates to the physical or mental description of a minor including, but not limited to, height, weight, color of hair and eyes, use of eyeglasses or contact lenses, skin coloring, physical or mental handicaps, special medical conditions or needs, abnormalities, problems, scars and marks, and distinguishing characteristics, and other information that could assist in identifying a minor including, but not limited to, full name and nickname, date and place of birth, age, names and addresses of parents and other relatives, fingerprints, dental records, photographs, social security number, driver's license number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and clothing.

(2) "Minor" means a person under eighteen years of age.

(3) "Missing children" or "missing child" means either of the following:

(a) A minor who has run away from or who otherwise is missing from the home of, or the care, custody, and control of, the minor's parents, parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian, guardian, legal custodian, or other person having responsibility for the care of the minor;

(b) A minor who is missing and about whom there is reason to believe the minor could be the victim of a violation of section 2905.01, 2905.02, 2905.03, or 2919.23 of the Revised Code or of a violation of section 2905.04 of the Revised Code as it existed prior to the effective date of this amendment July 1, 1996.

(B) When a law enforcement agency in this state that has jurisdiction in the matter is informed that a minor is or may be a missing child and that the person providing the information wishes to file a missing child report, the law enforcement agency shall take that report. Upon taking the report, the law enforcement agency shall take prompt action upon it, including, but not limited to, concerted efforts to locate the missing child. No law enforcement agency in this state shall have a rule or policy that prohibits or discourages the filing of or the taking of action upon a missing child report, within a specified period following the discovery or formulation of a belief that a minor is or could be a missing child.

(C) If a missing child report is made to a law enforcement agency in this state that has jurisdiction in the matter, the law enforcement agency shall gather readily available information about the missing child and integrate it into the national crime information center computer within twelve hours immediately following the making of the report. The law enforcement agency shall make reasonable efforts to acquire additional information about the missing child following the transmittal of the initially available information, and promptly integrate any additional information acquired into such computer systems.

Whenever a law enforcement agency integrates information about a missing child into the national crime information center computer, the law enforcement agency promptly shall notify the missing child's parents, parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian, guardian, or legal custodian, or any other person responsible for the care of the missing child, that it has so integrated the information.

The parents, parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian, guardian, legal custodian, or other person responsible for the care of the missing child shall provide available information upon request, and may provide information voluntarily, to the law enforcement agency during the information gathering process. The law enforcement agency also may obtain available information about the missing child from other persons, subject to constitutional and statutory limitations.

(D) Upon the filing of a missing child report, the law enforcement agency involved promptly shall make a reasonable attempt to notify other law enforcement agencies within its county and, if the agency has jurisdiction in a municipal corporation or township that borders another county, to notify the law enforcement agency for the municipal corporation or township in the other county with which it shares the border, that it has taken a missing child report and may be requesting assistance or cooperation in the case, and provide relevant information to the other law enforcement agencies. The agency may notify additional law enforcement agencies, appropriate public children services agencies, about the case, request their assistance or cooperation in the case, and provide them with relevant information.

Upon request from a law enforcement agency, a public children services agency shall grant the law enforcement agency access to all information concerning a missing child that the agency possesses that may be relevant to the law enforcement agency in investigating a missing child report concerning that child. The information obtained by the law enforcement agency shall be used only to further the investigation to locate the missing child.

(E) Upon request, law enforcement agencies in this state shall provide assistance to, and cooperate with, other law enforcement agencies in their investigation of missing child cases.

The information in any missing child report made to a law enforcement agency shall be made available, upon request, to law enforcement personnel of this state, other states, and the federal government when the law enforcement personnel indicate that the request is to aid in identifying or locating a missing child or the possible identification of a deceased minor who, upon discovery, cannot be identified.

(F) When a missing child has not been located within thirty days after the date on which the missing child report pertaining to the child was filed with a law enforcement agency, that law enforcement agency shall request the missing child's parents, parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian, guardian, or legal custodian, or any other person responsible for the care of the missing child, to provide written consent for the law enforcement agency to contact the missing child's dentist and request the missing child's dental records. Upon receipt of such written consent, the dentist shall release a copy of the missing child's dental records to the law enforcement agency and shall provide and encode the records in such form as requested by the law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency then shall integrate information in the records into the national crime information center computer in order to compare the records to those of unidentified deceased persons. This division does not prevent a law enforcement agency from seeking consent to obtain copies of a missing child's dental records, or prevent a missing child's parents, parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian, guardian, or legal custodian, or any other person responsible for the care of the missing child, from granting consent for the release of copies of the missing child's dental records to a law enforcement agency, at any time.

(G) A missing child's parents, parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian, guardian, or legal custodian, or any other persons responsible for the care of a missing child, immediately shall notify the law enforcement agency with which they filed the missing child report whenever the child has returned to their home or to their care, custody, and control, has been released if the missing child was the victim of an offense listed in division (A)(3)(b) of this section, or otherwise has been located. Upon such notification or upon otherwise learning that a missing child has returned to the home of, or to the care, custody, and control of the missing child's parents, parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian, guardian, legal custodian, or other person responsible for the missing child's care, has been released if the missing child was the victim of an offense listed in division (A)(3)(b) of this section, or otherwise has been located, the law enforcement agency involved promptly shall integrate the fact that the minor no longer is a missing child into the national crime information center computer.

(H) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to impair the confidentiality of services provided to runaway minors by shelters for runaway minors pursuant to sections 5119.64 to 5119.68 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 2901.42.  (A) If a law enforcement agency receives a an initial report or receives additional information for the report that a person who is at least eighteen but less than twenty-one years of age is missing and if there is evidence that the person was a victim of foul play at the time the victim is reported missing, the law enforcement agency shall make available through the law enforcement automated data system national crime information center all information contained in the report not later than seven days immediately after the law enforcement agency receives the report or additional information. If there is no evidence that the person was a victim of foul play, the law enforcement agency shall make the information available in the law enforcement automated data system not later than thirty days after receiving the report that the person is missing.

(B)(1) If a law enforcement agency receives a report that a person who is twenty-one years of age or older is missing and if there is evidence that the person was a victim of foul play at the time the victim is reported missing, the law enforcement agency shall make available through the national crime information center all information contained in the report not later than seven days after the law enforcement agency receives the report. If there is no evidence that the person was a victim of foul play, and no evidence to the contrary is received, the law enforcement agency shall make the information available through the national crime information center not later than thirty days after receiving the report that the person is missing.

(2) If a law enforcement agency receives a report that a person who is twenty-one years of age or older is missing and there is no evidence of foul play at the time the agency receives the report and if the agency discovers after the law enforcement agency receives the report but before the end of the seven-day period under division (A)(B)(1) of this section evidence that the person who is missing was a victim of foul play, the law enforcement agency shall make available through the law enforcement automated data system national crime information center all information contained in the report by the end of that seven-day period. If a law enforcement agency receives a report that a person who is twenty-one years of age or older is missing and there is no evidence of foul play at the time the agency receives the report and if the agency discovers after the end of the seven-day period under division (A)(B)(1) of this section evidence that the person who is missing was a victim of foul play, the law enforcement agency shall make available through the law enforcement automated data system national crime information center all information contained in the report not later than forty-eight hours after discovering the evidence that the person was a victim of foul play.

(C) If a law enforcement agency pursuant to divisions (A) and (B) of this section made available through the law enforcement automated data system national crime information center information contained in a report that a person is missing and the missing person is found, the agency shall promptly remove that information from the law enforcement automated data system.

(D) As used in this section, indicators that a person was a victim of "foul play" include, but are not limited to, evidence that the person's home or car is in disarray, evidence of a struggle between the person and another person, or evidence a law enforcement agency determines to be foul play through the written policy the law enforcement agency develops and adopts pursuant to division (B) of section 2901.41 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 5502.522.  (A) There is hereby created the statewide emergency alert program to aid in the identification and location of any individual who has a mental impairment or is sixty-five years of age or older, who is or is believed to be a temporary or permanent resident of this state, is at a location that cannot be determined by an individual familiar with the missing individual, and is incapable of returning to the missing individual's residence without assistance, and whose disappearance, as determined by a law enforcement agency, poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to the missing individual. The program shall be a coordinated effort among the governor's office, the department of public safety, the attorney general, law enforcement agencies, the state's public and commercial television and radio broadcasters, and others as determined necessary by the governor. No name shall be given to the program created under this division that conflicts with any alert code standards that are required by federal law and that govern the naming of emergency alert programs.

(B) The statewide emergency alert program shall not be implemented unless all of the following activation criteria are met:

(1) The local investigating law enforcement agency confirms that the individual is missing.

(2) The individual is sixty-five years of age or older or has a mental impairment.

(3) The disappearance of the individual poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to the individual.

(4) There is sufficient descriptive information about the individual and the circumstances surrounding the individual's disappearance to indicate that activation of the alert will help locate the individual.

(C) Nothing in division (B) of this section prevents the activation of a local or regional emergency alert program that may impose different criteria for the activation of a local or regional plan.

(D) Any radio broadcast station, television broadcast station, or cable system participating in the statewide emergency alert program or in any local or regional emergency alert program, and any director, officer, employee, or agent of any station or system participating in either type of alert program, shall not be liable to any person for damages for any loss allegedly caused by or resulting from the station's or system's broadcast or cablecast of, or failure to broadcast or cablecast, any information pursuant to the statewide emergency alert program or the local or regional emergency alert program.

(E) A local investigating law enforcement agency shall not be required to notify the statewide emergency alert program that the law enforcement agency has received information that meets the activation criteria set forth in division (B) of this section during the first twenty-four hours after the law enforcement agency receives the information.

(F) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the use of the federal emergency alert system unless otherwise authorized by federal law.

(G) As used in this section:

(1) "Cable system" has the same meaning as in section 2913.04 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Law enforcement agency" includes, but is not limited to, a county sheriff's office, the office of a village marshal, a police department of a municipal corporation, a police force of a regional transit authority, a police force of a metropolitan housing authority, the state highway patrol, a state university law enforcement agency, the office of a township police constable, and the police department of a township or joint township police district.

(3) "Mental impairment" means a substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation, or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behavior, or ability to live independently or provide self-care as certified by a licensed physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

SECTION 2. That existing sections 2901.30 and 2901.42 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

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