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Executive Order Establishes Task Force
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 aimed 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 Task Force included members from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Mission & Function
Executive Order 13898 set 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.