After the high-profile disappearances of Morgan Harrington, Alexis Murphy and Hannah Graham over the past five years in Virginia, the Virginia Crime Commission wants to improve the way the state handles searches for missing persons, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. A crime commission study looked at the state of readiness of Virginia law enforcement and search-and-rescue personnel for rapid, coordinated deployment in all cases of missing, endangered or abducted persons.
Recommendations endorsed by the commission last week include the appointment of a statewide coordinator and creation of a detailed checklist for first responders. The commission staff collected data from 50 states; surveyed virtually all Virginia law enforcement agencies; reviewed more than 100 of their missing-person policies; met with families of missing individuals, as well as federal, state and local officials; and participated in three days of search-and-rescue training. The crime commission staff is drafting a bill for the 2015 assembly session.