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Protocols & Procedures

"Lady Justice" used with permission from DG Smalling, Choctaw Nation (see reuse policy).

Model Protocols, Procedures & Guidelines

E.O. 13898 requires the Task Force to “develop model protocols and procedures to apply to new and unsolved cases of missing or murdered persons in AI/AN 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).” (E.O. Section 4(a)(ii)(A-C).)

The Task Force and the AG’s MMIP Initiative received input on the model protocols and procedures from Tribal leadership, Tribal law enforcement executives and many others. Based on feedback, draft guides have been developed that will provide a resource for Tribal communities that wish to develop their own protocols (guidelines) tailored to each Tribal community’s needs, resources and culture.

The guides are in draft format, and include the following:

  • Guide for Developing a Tribal Community Response Plan for Missing Person Cases (overarching plan)

  • Guide for Developing Community Outreach Guidelines for Missing Person Cases

  • Guide for Developing Law Enforcement Agency Guidelines for Missing Person Cases

  • Guide for Developing Victim Services Guidelines for Missing Person Cases

  • Guide for Developing Public and Media Communications Guidelines for Missing Person Cases

  • Training Plans to support Tribal communities and law enforcement executing these guidelines

These guides are being piloted in several locations through cooperation of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Tribes and, after evaluation and review by Tribes, will be disseminated to all Tribes. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices have partnered with Tribes to launch pilot projects in six states: Alaska, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon.

Volunteer Engagement Programs for American Indian & Alaska Native Missing Persons Cases

Operation Lady Justice and the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is working with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to develop a training focused on volunteer programs in tribal law enforcement agencies. A special project under the COPS Office’s Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC), this training will support tribal agencies in starting and managing a volunteer program to support missing persons cases. Building on IACP’s Volunteers in Police Service curriculum, this training will include a workshop geared toward tribal leadership and an eight-hour training for tribal law enforcement and other staff who will develop the program and manage volunteers.

For more information and to request this CRI-TAC training, visit https://cops.usdoj.gov/collaborativereform


Date Created: February 23, 2021