The year is 2026 when Destiny Search Project receives notice that there is a missing 8-year-old girl. One of our regional coordinators quickly opens the case and begins work. An alert is first sent out to our Virtual Support Team advising them of the missing child.
Our coordinator starts to gather the information and create a missing person poster to start distributing. The information is also submitted to several missing person clearinghouses. At the same time, an assistant is setting up our internal case files and getting things ready.
The missing girl is autistic and it seems she has likely wandered off. Unfortunately, it could have been up to three hours ago so she could have traveled quite a bit. The decision is made a Rapid Volunteer Search Operation is needed.
The Virtual Support Team begins working on initial operations. The mapping unit starts working on search areas within five miles of the girl’s last location. At the same time, the Social Media group is data mining information about local media, websites, social media groups, and potential search center locations. They also work to get a Facebook group set up to begin engaging the community and distributing information.
The flier is ready and posted to online sites, and sent out to media and social media that the Virtual Support Team has found. We have contact with local law enforcement and start making the arrangements to organize the community-based search.
We are now an hour and a half since first notification. We have not been able to work out a search center location yet but still move ahead and begin with using our Virtual Search Center. An alert is pushed out to volunteers through our Destiny Search Ops APP. We also post information on how the public can join without previously being signed up.
Volunteers begin checking in online and filling out registration and watching a briefing video that gives details on how our search operations will work, Next they check in using our communications platform and those not preregistered verify ID through video with our Virtual Operations Team.
Our Virtual Support Team Communications unit begins getting volunteers assigned into teams based on where they are located closest to available search areas. The volunteers coordinate with each other using the communications system to meet up and begin searching.
The search is underway at three hours. We finally make contact with a church in the area and make arrangements on using the facility as the Search Center. One of our coordinators is only an hour away and starts heading there to begin setting up the local command center.
An updated press release with the new Search Center location is sent out as we continue using volunteers with the virtual system. Our Logistics unit has a local print shop working on getting 1000 copies of the flier prepared. They have also contacted a local restaurant to provide water for volunteers.
Hour four comes and the local Search Center opens and several community members are trained in registering new volunteers, creating teams, and collecting information in debriefings. The local police already have been given access to our database and are able to see who is searching, and where all of the search operations are going.
By hour six we have had 150 extra pairs of eyes and feet on the ground by using community-based volunteers. Police have been able to work on the investigative side without needing to manage the volunteers. The family though still very distraught and concerned feel the community support and its help ease some of the uneasiness.
Dispatch received a call from team 23 over the communications platform.
They found her.
Word is quickly spread that the child has been located and she is brought home safe after the police meet with the team where they located her.
Seven hours, with 200 onsite volunteers and another 20 working virtually from around the country. There are other concepts of having prearranged search centers in locations around the country. Volunteers pre-approved and signed up with the APP to get alerts of search needs in their area.
This story is just a glimpse of a possible story in the future of Destiny Search Project. In our vision, we would be somewhat like the American Red Cross having regional, and local teams that are ready to respond when needed. Volunteers signed up ready to go. Our Virtual Support and Operations Teams helping with cases nationwide.
There is a lot of work to get there but we have already begun working on the planning to make it happen.