Apr 12 2017
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) recently introduced the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017, legislation that would expand the AMBER Alert child abduction warning system on Native American reservations by clarifying that Indian tribes are eligible for Department of Justice (DOJ) grants that help assemble AMBER Alert systems for law enforcement agencies.
The DOJ currently operates a pilot program that offers AMBER Alert training services to Native American tribes. The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017 would make that initiative permanent and enhance DOJ oversight of how the grants are used. The legislation would also reauthorize the DOJ grant program that assists state and local governments in developing and implementing AMBER Alert communication plans. These communication plans are used by law enforcement agencies to expedite child abduction alerts to the public. The bill would also require the DOJ to perform a needs-assessment of AMBER Alert capabilities on Indian reservations.
“Last year, the Navajo community was devastated by the abduction and murder of 11-year old Ashlynne Mike,” said Senator McCain. “In that high-profile case, authorities did not issue an AMBER Alert for Ashlynne until the day after family members reported her abduction. According to data produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are 7,724 American Indian children listed as missing in the United States. We must give Indian tribes the tools they need to help our children and put an end to this tragedy. I thank the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for their efforts on this critical issue.”
“At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we know that AMBER Alerts are often critical in the safe recovery of an abducted child,” said NCMEC President and CEO John Clark. “The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017, sponsored by Senator John McCain, will help improve and lead to the expansion of the AMBER Alert system on Native American reservations, and we are proud to lend our support to the Senator on this important piece of legislation.”
The legislation is here.