In the search to find missing persons, the task has become easier in Harris County, thanks to a new website and application.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and members of the HCSO’S Missing Persons Unit, in partnership with TISA Software, announced a new website and application that allows the public to assist authorities in locating missing persons by providing photos and personal data of persons currently missing from Harris County.

The public is able to report sightings directly to the HCSO.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says that the new tools offer an opportunity for public involvement and assistance that is beneficial to all: “Too often this issue has been handled pretty much the way it has already handled for decades. With the HCSO it’s time to pick it up a notch, it’s time to address it in a contemporary way,” said Sheriff Garcia.

The Been Missing website also has a free mobile app that users can download. There is also a link to social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The tools allow for tremendous visibility as well as mass distribution of open missing persons cases in Harris County.

When finding a missing person, the biggest obstacle is time. Sgt. Doug Thomas, who heads the HCSO’s Missing Persons Unit, says that these latest tools are beneficial in cutting down crucial minutes when it comes to finding those that are missing: “The biggest factor we have is the time. When people go missing or they run away the most important thing is how quick we can get their face out there, their information there . . . this will increase our (speed) and increase the amount of eyes out there looking,” Sgt. Thomas said in a statement to the public.

The technology and concept were donated by Houston–based TISA Software to the Sheriff’s Office. They are a company that provides cutting-edge technology solutions to various law enforcement sectors as well as global and city organizations.

Cicely C. Mitchell/ CBS Radio Houston

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