Missing person cases are something the Polk County Sheriff ’s Office investigates often — more than you might think.

Many of the people reported as missing are found within hours. Many of those are due to miscommunication or a lack of communication. We’ve actually had deputies locate missing children in their own homes, and that’s not even unusual.

The cases that get most people’s attention are the ones that are classified as Amber Alerts.

These are missing person reports regarding endangered children. For an Amber Alert to be issued, the U.S. Department of Justice has established criteria that must be met first: the child must have been abducted, must be 17-years-old or younger, there must be great risk to the child, and detailed descriptions must be available for the child, abductor, and a vehicle.

At that point, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will issue the Amber Alert.

Then, there are Silver Alerts for missing persons who are 60 years or older, endangered due to diminishing mental health and are in a motor vehicle or on foot. In some cases, a Silver Alert can be issued for someone between the ages of 18-59 (depending on the agency of the person).

Our Crime Prevention Section can provide parents with Ident-A-Kid kits, and they also have Project Safe & Sound bracelets for children and seniors with special needs.

For more information about this, contact Crime Prevention at (863) 298-6677.

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