ROCK ISLAND, ILL (KWQC) On average the quad cities area sees 250 missing persons’ cases a year, that’s according to the QC Missing Persons Network.
They are often the first call people make when a loved one disappears, says Dennis Harker, the network director.
"Everyone that’s ever called me always says, 'I never thought I’d have to use your services.' I never thought it’d be me."
On the other end, callers desperate to locate a person gone missing.
"When those things happen, it's nice for the community to say, we have resources right here for you,” says Harker. “There’s not a lot of resources available for that in the area."
Even fewer the resources available to put on an outdoor-- onsite-- search party once a person has been reported missing.
"Usually police are not trained to do that, the paramedics aren’t trained to do that, the firefighters are not trained to do that,” says Harker. “Having someone with that very specific skill set that the community can rely on is very important."
Crucial to a family, desperate for answers. Trained volunteers with the network try to provide that. They conduct searches along a ten-mile radius if need be.
"There’s always a fear that you find something. There's always a hope that you find something or find the person, but that's not always the case."
Nearly all of the searches conducted by the QC network have turned up no signs of the missing person.
"That doesn't mean it’s a waste of time. Every time you do a search and you say, we thoroughly searched it, there's nothing there that we could find, then use your resources somewhere else to look."
If you are interested in join search efforts-- you are invited to attend a search simulation with the QC Missing Persons Network on Sunday, January 19, starting at 9:30 a.m.
After that, you may also register for certification training provided in March.
Contact Dennis Harker at (309)737-3096 with any questions, or to sign up.