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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Cases that gain national attention like the missing girls found in Cleveland, Ohio can serve as learning tools for local law enforcement.

"Anytime we see anything like this in the media, especially when it's a tragic situation or in this case a good situation in that not all abductees in up in a tragic situation we always ask the question what would we do in that scenario?"said Interim Chief Ruben Santiago, of the Columbia Police Department.

Santiago says education and awareness among communities can also be helpful, as it leads to more information for law enforcement.

"If you see something very suspicious or you see something that just doesn't fit we have outlets to where you can give that information and not be identified, but let us check it out it's so many times that the little activities happen and they turn out to be big issues," said Santiago.

He says it's also important to consider that people familiar with a family or individual are frequently connected to a case.

"When you look at the statistics when it comes to missing persons or people who have been abducted it's usually somebody that's been associated with the family or some kind of connections with the family or that individual and so we also look at that from the law enforcement perspective and try and make those connections as well," he said.

As large cases develop, Santiago says departments like his are able to take tips and practices from what other law enforcement agencies have experienced.

"We're always asking ourselves what can we do and what should we be doing. And so we reevaluate everything and in this case we're so thankful that the individuals are safe and if we have a situation or a scenario like this we want to have those same outcomes so we're looking at focusing our investigations any way, whether it's an unorthodox way to be successful," he said.

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