On November 26, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13898, forming the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Task Force aims to enhance the operation of the criminal justice system and address the legitimate concerns of American Indian and Alaska Native communities regarding missing and murdered people — particularly missing and murdered women and girls.
The Attorney General and the Secretary of the Interior have been named as co-chairs of the Presidential Task Force. The inaugural Task Force members, who served from 2019 to January 19, 2021, were:
- Katharine (Katie) Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, designee for the Attorney General;
- Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Department of the Interior, designee for the Secretary of the Interior;
- Terry Wade, Executive Assistant Director, Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice;
- Laura Rogers, Acting Director, Office on Violence Against Women, Department of Justice;
- Charles (Charlie) Addington, Deputy Bureau Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Department of the Interior;
- Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma and Chair of the Native American Issues Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, Department of Justice; and
- Jean (Jeannie) Hovland, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Affairs and Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans, Department of Health and Human Services.
The Task Force is assisted by Executive Director Marcia Good, of DOJ’s Office of Tribal Justice.
Executive Order 13898 sets forth specific work for the Task Force to accomplish:
—Conduct appropriate consultations with tribal governments on the scope and nature of the issues regarding missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives;
—Develop model protocols and procedures to apply to new and unsolved cases of missing or murdered persons in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, including best practices for:
- Improving the way law enforcement investigators and prosecutors respond to the high volume of such cases, and to the investigative challenges that might be presented in cases involving female victims;
- Collecting and sharing data among various jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies; and
- Better use of existing criminal databases, such as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) including the National DNA Index System (NDIS);
—Establish a multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional team including representatives from tribal law enforcement and the Departments of Justice and the Interior to review cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives
—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 by:
- Developing and publishing best-practices guidance for use by Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement in cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives, to include best practices related to communication with affected families from initiation of an investigation through case resolution or closure;
- Facilitating formal agreements or arrangements among Federal, State, local and tribal law enforcement to promote maximally cooperative, trauma-informed responses to cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives
- Developing and executing an education and outreach campaign for communities that are most affected by crime against American Indians and Alaska Natives to identify and reduce such crime; and
- Developing, in partnership with NamUs, a public-awareness campaign to educate both rural and urban communities about the needs of affected families and resources that are both needed and available
By November 26, 2020, the Task Force is charged with developing and submitting a written report to the President regarding:
- the activities and accomplishments of the Task Force
- the status of projects the Task Force has not yet completed; and
- specific recommendations for future action of the Task Force.
By November 26, 2021, the Task Force is charged with developing and submitting a final written report to the President regarding the activities and accomplishments of the Task Force.