(Adult) Missing Person SOP

Prompted by this story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070928/ap_on_re_us/woman_found

This is a tough nut to crack. I can definitely build a strong case for either side, and it is inherently difficult to keep emotions out of it. I keep landing at a point where I think they should at least instigate the cell phone trace on the assumption that something is wrong. Yes, some people are going to perhaps panic and file unnecessary reports that will potentially waste resources. Yes, some people are going to flat-out abuse the system to try and find their cheating spouses. But I do have a problem with “protect and serve” being defined in such a way that it puts the those who might misuse the system foremost in the equation and people like the Riders on the back burner.

Make it a civil offense to file a wrongful missing persons report. So if my wife decides to sic the cops on me because I’ve been out playing cards all night and she’s pissed, then I can sue her ass in civil court, or use it as a basis for divorce. I don’t think it should be criminal, someone getting worried about a spouse/loved one should not go to jail over it, but if they’re using the police as an arm of a domestic dispute then give the other partner the ability to retaliate through the court system as well. Oh sure, this brings our already overworked legal system additional traffic, and brings the interpersonal world of relationships even more into the legal sphere, but it would prevent situations like the Riders’.