With a recent runway reported in Bismarck, we sat down with Lt. Luke Gardiner with the Bismarck Police Department to see what protocol is and what they do as a team to help.

First, Gardiner says runaways are typically reported by parents or guardians, and a report is taken and, in most cases, one of the department’s six school resource officers begins an investigation to find the runaway.

Gardiner says this is because school officers typically know students, their friends and their situation, which can help assist in the search.

Over the last two years, a majority of the reported runways were all found on the same day they were reported missing. Running away in North Dakota is considered a status offense, which is going to change.

“Come August, those individuals will be considered CHENS, which is Child in Need of Services and instead of juvenile court having jurisdiction over those CHENS kids, they’ll fall under the preview of social service organizations throughout the state and that was a change to the century code last legislative session,” Gardiner said.

The department says 230 runaways were reported in 2020 and so far this year, there’s been 95.

He encourages anyone experiencing thoughts of running away or have already done so to reach out to Youthworks, a statewide resource for homeless and runaway youth.