Sen. Charles Schumer called on Congress Monday to back his plan to streamline the flow of investigative information among police agencies in missing children's cases.
Schumer's bill, the Bringing Missing Children Home Act of 2014, would mandate that law enforcement officers update police files of missing children with medical and dental records and a photograph within 30 days of the disappearance.
The bill also would allow county, state and local police agencies to update the investigative file with new information. Currently, police agencies cannot modify records in the National Crime Information Center without permission from the original investigative agency, which can delay crucial information from being dispersed to law enforcement, Schumer said.
"That's mind-boggling," said Schumer, (D-N.Y.), who spoke outside Nassau County Police Department headquarters in Mineola. "Time is precious after a child goes missing."
Schumer, who was joined by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki and Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith, said the bill also requires law enforcement officials to coordinate with state and local child welfare systems when a child is reported missing.
More than 1,800 Long Island children were reported missing in 2013. About 230 cases are active, Schumer said.
Schumer's bill was introduced in January, and Schumer said he expects a vote "early next year."
Schumer relayed his own, however brief, experience of having a child go missing about 22 years ago. He said he was lunching with his wife and then 2-year-old daughter, Alison, at Gosman's Dock restaurant in Montauk when the girl went missing.
"That hour and a half was heart wrenching," Schumer said. "I still remember it."
Luckily, his daughter was safe.
"She was sitting with another family, eating. She was eating lobster and French fries," Schumer said. "Can you imagine compounding that a thousand times over what these parents feel about their missing kids? The limbo -- where is she or he? What happened to them? Can I ever find them? Are they alive? These are the questions that plague a parent."