Unless you’ve dedicated a lot of time to breaking the law, most of what you know about the cops comes from movies and TV, and those may or may not be just the facts, ma’am. All month, Ken Jennings will be exploring the “thin blue line” between police fact and police fiction. If you actually thought this stuff was true—well, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the comments section.
Police Myth #4: You Have to Be Gone for 24 Hours to Be a “Missing Person.”
You’ve seen it in any number of TV and movie dramas: the frustrated loved one getting turned away from a precinct when they try to report a kidnapping. “I’m sorry, (sir/ma’am),” says the unhelpful desk sergeant. “Until (he/she) has been missing for 24 hours, we can’t file a missing persons report. Just go home. I’m sure your (lover/child/confused elderly person) will turn up.” Can you believe it? The red tape! The bureaucracy! We the viewers, of course, already know that the missing person in question is in a (car trunk/sex dungeon/shallow grave near the highway). The suspense mounts.