BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey is hoping to establish a statewide missing persons unit to assist local police departments throughout their investigations.
Healey has set aside $300,000 in her state budget proposal for the missing and unidentified persons unit. The unit will consist of several designated full-time positions, according to the governor.
Those working for the unit will be in charge of enhancing collaboration efforts, developing training curriculum, advancing policy development and standardizing the collection of data and uniform reporting.
The goal of the unit is to strengthen statewide coordination on missing and unidentified persons investigations by providing training opportunities for police departments across the Commonwealth.
“Trainings will offer vital insights into the technology, forensic services, and investigative supports that help to improve investigations, resolve cases, and provide families and communities with the answers they desperately need,” Healey said.
Healey touted her proposal the day following a specialized training session on best practices for missing persons and unidentified human remains investigations.
More than 300 officers from across the state participated in the training, which focused on acquiring forensic data, analyzing geolocation records and articulating results in real-time.
Massachusetts State Police Interim Col. John Mawn Jr. said he fully supports the initiative.
“As investigators, we know all too well the agony that families endure when someone they love has gone missing,” Mawn said. “Many of us have had to tell relatives that our best efforts did not locate their loved one, and we see the devastation in their faces.”
Mawn said Massachusetts State Police, “stand ready to assist any local department that needs our help to search for a missing person.”
Massachusetts currently has 1,908 active missing persons cases and 19 unidentified human remains investigations.