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Resources for Law Enforcement

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Resources for Law Enforcement

Missing and Unidentified Persons Section

The California Department of Justice carries out the responsibilities of the Attorney General through 10 main divisions. The department operates statewide with major offices in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and Fresno. To obtain more information on specific divisions, visit the Attorney General’s Web Site at

One of the ten DOJ divisions is the California Justice Information Services (CJIS). It provides criminal justice intelligence, identification, and information and technology service to law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and the public. Within CJIS, the Justice Data and Investigative Services Bureau (JDISB) provides information systems including wanted persons, stolen vehicles, and violent offenders. CJIS also performs analysis of statistical data pertaining to the Criminal Justice System and maintains central files of missing and unidentified persons, sex and arson registrants, and habitual sexual offenders.

The Missing and Unidentified Person Section (MUPS) is organizationally under JDISB and assists law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in locating missing persons and identifying unknown live and deceased persons through the comparison of physical characteristics, fingerprints, and dental/body X–rays.

There are three primary components of MUPS: Physical Identification, Dental Identification, and the Missing Children Clearinghouse. The physical identification component compares reports of missing persons and unidentified persons against each other for possible matches. The dental identification component analyzes dental records by classifying, indexing, and comparing dental records of missing and unidentified persons against each other for possible matches. The third component is the Missing Children Clearinghouse, which maintains a nationwide, 24-hour, toll-free telephone hotline to receive information and inquiries regarding missing children. The Clearinghouse works closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to aid in locating children who have been abducted and taken out of or brought into California.