HELENA – State and federal law enforcement officials have announced a joint training session aimed at helping investigators and the public address missing persons cases, particularly those involving Native Americans.
The joint training with the U.S. and Montana departments of justice will offer training on missing persons databases and alert systems in Helena in June.
A law enforcement portion will provide information on accepting and entering missing persons’ reports while a public training section will give information on various databases and alerts.
The training is free, and post-credits are available for law enforcement officers. Space is limited to 250 people, with priority given to tribal and law enforcement representatives.
The training will feature presenters from a variety of federal and state organizations. Trainers from the FBI, Criminal Justice Information Services, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, NamUs, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, AMBER Alert, and the Montana Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Information Network, Missing Persons Clearinghouse, and the Montana Analysis and Technical Information Center, will explain the various databases and alerts, how they work and how law enforcement and the public can use them when someone goes missing.
The event, set for June 12 in Helena, will provide a separate session of 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, while a separate session for the public will provide information on how to report a missing person, the missing persons databases and alert systems and other resources.
“This training will focus on how all of us in Montana’s law enforcement and criminal justice system will work with our federal and tribal partners to find justice for missing indigenous people in our state, and healing for their families and communities,” Attorney General Tim Fox said.
“Because of the jurisdictional divisions in Indian Country, local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies must work together. We’re designing this collaborative training specifically for law enforcement, and for tribal government and members of the public, with educational offerings tailored to each of those groups.”
“We are pleased to be working with Attorney General Fox, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide this first-ever joint training on missing persons resources for all federal state, local and tribal law enforcement in Montana and for tribal councils and members of the public,” U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said. “By working together with law enforcement and family and friends to better collect information about missing persons, particularly Native Americans, we can help bring more people home.”
“There are far too many missing persons in the state of Montana, especially among Montana’s tribes; therefore, the Little Shell are happy to support the efforts being put forth by the Montana Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office with regard to the Missing Persons Training that will be taking place,” Gerald Gray, Chairman of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, said,
Lucy Simpson, Director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC), has been invited to give the keynote address.
“The NIWRC’s main office is located in Lame Deer, and our staff experienced the disappearance and losses of Henny Scott and Hannah Harris directly as members of that community,” Simpson said.
“This localized training of national partners signals a step forward to addressing the disproportionate violence that American Indian people face on a daily basis, including a homicide rate on some reservations that is ten times the national average,” Simpson added.
The joint training is sponsored by the Montana Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Montana, the FBI, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.