Winthrop University Police Department

Missing Persons

Winthrop University takes student safety very seriously. To this end, the following policy and procedure has been developed in order to assist in locating Winthrop University students living in university owned, on-campus housing, who based on the facts and circumstances known to the university are determined to be missing. This policy is in compliance with Section 488 of the Higher Education Act of 2008. (For students reported missing who live off campus, see Item 6 below.)

Most missing person reports in the university environment result from students changing their routines without informing their roommates and/or friends of the change. Anyone who believes a student to be missing should report his or her concern to the Winthrop University Police Department or the Residence Life staff. Every report made to the university will be followed up with an immediate investigation once a student has been missing for 24 hours.

Depending on the circumstances presented to university officials, parents of a missing student will be notified. In the event that parental notification is necessary, the Chief of the Winthrop University Police Department or designee will place the call.

At the beginning of each academic year, residential students will be required to complete the "Residence Hall Registration/Missing Persons Card". The information provided on this card will be used in the event a student is reported missing while enrolled and living on campus at Winthrop University. This emergency information will be kept in each residence hall office in alphabetical order.

General Procedure

  1. The Winthrop University official receiving the report will collect and document the following information at
    the time of the report:
    1. The name and relationship of the person making the report.
    2. The date, time and location the missing student was last seen.
    3. The general routine or habits of the suspected missing student (e.g., visiting friends who live off-campus, working a job away from campus) including any recent changes in behavior or demeanor.
    4. The missing student’s cell phone number (if known by the reporter).
  2. The Winthrop University official receiving the report will contact the Residence Life Professional Staff on call (for a resident student) and the Winthrop University Police Department. The Winthrop University Police Department with the assistance of Residence Life (if a resident student) will launch an investigation into finding the missing student.
  3. Upon notification from any entity that a student may be missing, Winthrop University may use any or all of the following resources to assist in locating the student:
    1. Call the student’s room,
    2. Go to the student’s residence hall room,
    3. Talk to the student’s RA, roommate, and floor mates to see if anyone can confirm the missing student’s whereabouts and/or confirm the date, time, and location the student was last seen.
    4. Secure a current student ID (from the Winthrop University Police Department) or other photo of the student from a friend.
    5. Call and text the student’s cell phone and call any other numbers on record.
    6. Send the student an e-mail.
    7. Check all possible locations mentioned by the parties above including, but not limited to, library, residence hall lounges, student commons, fitness center, etc.
    8. Contact the student’s current faculty.
    9. Contact or call any other on-campus or off-campus friends or contacts that are made known. This could include checking a student’s social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
    10. Ascertain the student’s car make, model and license plate number. A member of the Winthrop University Police Department will also check all university parking lots for the presence of the student’s vehicle.
  4. Winthrop University Informational Technology Services may be asked to obtain e-mail logs in order to determine the last log in and/or access of the university computer network.
  5. Once all information is collected and documented and the Chief of the Winthrop University Police Department (or his designee) is consulted, the Winthrop University Police Department may contact the local York County Law Enforcement agencies to disseminate the information. (Note: If in the course of gathering information as described above foul play is evident or strongly indicated, the off campus legal jurisdiction can be contacted immediately.) If it is necessary to contact the local or state authorities, police procedure and protocol will be followed by the university.
  6. If the missing student resides off campus and the matter is first reported to the university, Winthrop University Police will assist contacting the local jurisdiction legally responsible for investigating the report. The Winthrop University Police Department will also assist the local jurisdiction with the investigation upon request by providing pertinent information on the student and by using any of the procedures and the resources listed above to assist in the investigation that are legally permissible