AG Fox Announces Plans to Appoint Missing Persons Task Force, Hire Missing Persons Specialist

Following the passage of legislation to address missing indigenous persons in Montana, Attorney General Tim Fox today announced his agency’s implementation plans related to these new laws.

“Over the past two years, my office worked closely with the State-Tribal Relations Interim Committee on measures to address missing indigenous persons in Montana,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Four of those bills passed, and another, the LINC Act, is now law also. We are moving forward with the tasks the Legislature set before us, including appointing members to a Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, and hiring a Missing Persons Specialist within the Montana Department of Justice.”

Attorney General Fox added, “Issues of concern to Indian Country are close to my heart, not just because I grew up in a community near a tribal nation, but also because we can and must do more to work together. Toward that end, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme and I recently announced a joint training for law enforcement and the public on issues relating to missing persons cases across the state, particularly those involving Native Americans.” The event, set for June 12 in Helena, will provide instruction for law enforcement on accepting and entering a missing person’s report, use of missing persons alerts and advisories, and conducting missing persons investigations. A separate session for the public will offer information on how to report a missing person, give an overview of missing persons databases and alert systems, and discuss other resources that are available.

The training is free; online registration is available at www.dojmt.gov/mpt. POST credits for law enforcement officers are pending. For more information, email [email protected] or call DOJ’s Office of Victim Services at 1-800-498-6455 or (406) 444-3653.

Attorney General Fox also invited qualified applicants to apply for the new Missing Persons Specialist position created by the passage of House Bill 21, known as Hanna’s Act. This position, which will be placed in DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation, will work closely with local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement on missing persons cases. To apply, click here).

Other legislation related to today’s announcement includes:

House Bills 20 and 54, which clarify expectations for law enforcement when reporting a missing person, especially a missing child;
Senate Bill 40 creates an electronic photograph repository at the Office of Public Instruction to be accessed by law enforcement and the Montana DOJ so photographs of missing students can be included with a missing child report; and
Senate Bill 312, or the Looping in Native Communities (LINC) Act, creates a missing indigenous persons task force that includes a representative from each tribal government on Montana’s seven reservations and the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe.

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