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With thousands of missing persons cases a year, a look into how Dallas police address these incidents

On average, the Dallas Police Department gets 5,000 missing persons cases a year and 2,000 cases involving runaways.

DALLAS — Detective Ryan Dalby is a Dallas police missing persons detective. Every day he alone gets five to six new cases a day. 

Those include both runaways and adults who are missing.

As soon as they are assigned a case, they begin putting the person's picture out to national databases and sometimes they share the information on the Ring camera app.

"We can figure out which direction they left. Did they go north, south, east or west. Did they get on a bus and we can look at cameras," said Dalby. 

On average, DPD gets 5,000 missing persons cases a year and 2,000 cases involving runaways.

Recently there were two high profile cases involving teenage girls who Dallas police say were initially reported as runaways and then ended up possibly in the hands of sex traffickers.

Police say detectives treat the cases as runaway cases until they interview family and friends and gather evidence that would elevate the case. 

But the teens' pictures and information are also entered into the National Crime Information Center, so if they come in contact with law enforcement, they will know they've been reported as a runaway.

“Every case that comes in is investigated the same but if there is a case that has more to it and more of an emergency to try to find that person and believe they are in specific dangers we will bring in other units to help us out,” Police Lt. Glen Hurst

Dallas PD says parents can also help by having their teens' phone information so they can access phone records, otherwise police have to get a warrant and that takes time. Also, they say parents should be monitoring what their kids are doing on phones and social media.

“Parents need to be checking their kids phone. They need access to them. They need to look who they are talking to what they are sending out. If they are sending pics of themselves or posting pics of themselves. They need to look at that,” said Hurst.

Police say they also offer classes to parents and kids who have run away from home so they can give them direction to make better decisions so they don’t end up back on the streets.

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