Community is key in locating missing kids

RCPD: "Every child that is missing is important to us."

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Missing children cases in Rapid City are often solved using collaboration between law enforcement and community members.

“Every child that is missing is important to us,” says Lt. Christian Sigel, with the Rapid City Police Department. Each of these cases are investigated, but different cases require different solutions.

Missing Children“The ones that are critical are the ones that we’re really doing a full court press on, that’s when you’re going to see them on Facebook,” Lt. Sigel explains.

That’s why some cases pop up on social media, with RCPD asking for the public’s help.

“It is one of our best resources, our best options, for finding our missing youth,” says Sigel. 

A variety of considerations go into the decision to alert the public to a specific missing child.

“Those factors might include their age, maybe some suicidal tendencies, maybe the weather or inclement weather that’s coming in. Many other factors come into play, and when those people are missing and unaccounted for, that’s when we start to put them on Facebook and ask the community for help,” Sigel adds.

There are also techniques in place to stop runaways by working to solve the problems that cause kids to flee.

“We have a group of people here in our department that are sworn officers and others who are really working on the proactive side of the runaway problem, and we’re out there trying to connect the families with programs that would help them out, whether they’re maybe they’re missing some food, maybe they’re hungry, maybe there might be some abuse in the home we are inside the home trying to figure out those problems and trying to break the cycle of the continuous runaway,” Sigel said.

Outside the bounds of law enforcement, officers encourage parents and other leaders to have open conversations with youth about what they may be going through.

“There’s no black and white answer to be able to say ‘this is what you need to do to stop it from happening’. But really speaking with your with your child and trying to understand what it is that that’s causing them to run away is pretty important.”

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