President signs order to address missing and murdered Indians, Natives

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/03/2019 04:30 PM
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Nov. 26, establishing a task force on missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

This interagency task force, co-chaired by Attorney General William P. Barr and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, will work to address the crisis of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives in this country, particularly women and children. In coordination with tribes, the task force will develop model protocols and procedures for new and unsolved cases, collect and share data among various jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies, and address the need for greater clarity concerning roles, authorities, and jurisdiction throughout the lifecycle of cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“American Indian and Alaska Native people suffer from unacceptable and disproportionately high levels of violence, which can have lasting impacts on families and communities. Native American women face particularly high rates of violence, with at least half suffering sexual or intimate-partner violence in their lifetime. Too many of these families have experienced the loss of loved ones who went missing or were murdered,” said Barr. “President Trump establishing the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives will enable us to further strengthen the federal, state, and tribal law enforcement response to these continuing problems.”

On Nov. 22, Barr traveled to Montana to announce the launching of a national strategy to address missing and murdered Native Americans. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative places MMIP coordinators in 11 U.S. Attorney’s offices who will develop protocols for a more coordinated law enforcement response to missing cases.

The plan also calls for the deployment of the FBI’s most advanced response capabilities when needed, improved data collection and analysis, and training to support local response efforts. The MMIP Initiative will involve a coordinated effort by more than 50 U.S. Attorneys on the Attorney General’s Native American Issues Subcommittee, the FBI, the Office of Tribal Justice, with support from the Office of Justice Programs and the Office on Violence Against Women.

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