BOSTON (WWLP) – Hundreds of members of Massachusetts law enforcement attended training on missing persons and unidentified human remains investigations.

There are a total of 1,927 active cases reported by Massachusetts law enforcement to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, including 1908 missing persons and 19 unidentified human remains as of March 1, 2023.

A virtual training was held with more than 300 police officers on Tuesday with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, in coordination with the Municipal Police Training Committee and the Massachusetts State Police. It included advanced education on best practices, digital evidence techniques, and a review of forensic services to bolster investigations and support improved outcomes.

Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains Investigations Training Topics:

  • Digital forensics data collection
  • Cell site location evaluation and Google location history review
  • Cloud and social media analysis
  • Video and mobile device forensics
  • NamUs overview and available services (Odontology, fingerprints, and forensic genetic genealogy)
  • Case Study Analysis

Healey-Driscoll Administration Holds Law Enforcement Training

To Enhance Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains Investigations

The Administration’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Commits $300,000 to Establish a

Statewide Missing and Unidentified Persons Coordination Unit

The training on missing persons and unidentified human remains investigations is the third annual event held in the state at no cost to law enforcement agencies. It urges agencies to submit missing person data to the NamUs central repository.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration proposed $300,000 in the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Budget to establish a Missing and Unidentified Persons Coordination Unit that will support municipal law enforcement and strengthen statewide coordination on the handling of missing and unidentified person cases. If approved, the new unit will designate several full-time positions at the state level to enhance stakeholder collaboration, advance continued policy development, participate in the development of training curriculum, and lead the standardization of data collection and uniform reporting.

“Our first budget proposes funding to establish a statewide resource to enhance coordination and underscores our commitment to strong state and local partnership,” said Governor Maura Healey. “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.”

“This initiative is important for local law enforcement and the communities they serve as it provides the resources needed to assist these complex investigations and help reunite missing people with their loved ones,” said Lieutenant Governor Kimberley Driscoll. “This collaborative partnership is an important step toward providing the knowledge and tools required to enhance investigative standards and keep our communities safe.”

“A missing loved one has a devastating impact on family, friends, and entire communities. EOPSS remains committed to supporting law enforcement’s investigatory efforts to locate missing people and provide answers to despairing loved ones,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “We will continue to offer local police agencies enhanced education and look forward to establishing a statewide Missing and Unidentified Persons Coordination Unit as part of our shared commitment to improve systems, resolve cases, and support the families of missing loved ones. I commend MPTC, the State Police, NamUs, and our many participating municipal police agencies for their steadfast dedication to supporting this vital effort.”

“The MPTC supported the development of this specialized training initiative with our state and advocacy partners to provide local law enforcement with the expertise and skills needed to advance missing and unidentified person cases, enhance investigative strategies, and strengthen the existing framework. We remain committed to ensuring officers are equipped with the latest techniques and proven practices to achieve the strongest possible outcomes,” said MPTC Executive Director Robert Ferullo (Ret. Police Chief).

“As investigators, we know all too well the agony that families endure when someone they love has gone missing. Many of us in the MSP have had to tell relatives that our best efforts did not locate their loved one, and we see the devastation in their faces,” said Massachusetts State Police Interim Colonel John Mawn Jr. “The State Police fully support this specialized training for police officers across the state and stand ready to assist any local department that needs our help to search for a missing person.”

“The resolution of these cases relies on applying multiple investigative techniques, strong coordination, and enhanced data collection. Multiple shareholders, including families of the missing and murdered as well as non-profits, such as the Molly Bish Center for the Protection of Children and the Elderly, have been tireless advocates for advanced law enforcement training and the use of the latest technology. We commend this collaboration and look forward to the continued advancement of this effort,” said Dr. Ann Marie Mires, director of Forensic Criminology at Anna Maria College and a Forensic Science Oversight Board member.