Missing Indigenous Person Alert an early success in Washington

According to Washington State Patrol data, 17 of the 22 missing Indigenous warnings resulted in the subject being identified.

WASHINGTON, United States — This year, Washington became the first state in the nation to create a specialized warning system, similar to the amber warning, for missing Aboriginal people.

Families and advocates say in the past their disappearance cases have not received enough attention from the media or the police. This new alert system aims to change that.

KING 5’s Confrontation Team looked at how the system has been used so far.

Since its launch in July, the Washington State Patrol’s (WSP) new Native warning system has issued nearly two dozen warnings.

“That alone is a success to me, because we can go out and educate and raise awareness about the issue and reporting issues, [and the] Carri Gordon, program director of the Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit at the Washington State Patrol.

Gordon said several states, including Colorado, California and New Mexico, have contacted WSP to learn more about implementing their own Indigenous warning systems. According to the WSP, of the 22 Missing Indigenous Alerts activated since July, 16 were found alive, one was found dead and five are still missing.

“I would say that the vast majority are young men on the run. Most of the time, they are with other children or in a shelter somewhere and have not yet found their way back to family members. And that’s what we all hope for [cases] Gordon said.

Gordan said at least 15 law enforcement agencies have been trained on the alert, but many more are still unaware of the resource.

“I think the example we came to us last night is a perfect example of a family that feels like law enforcement is not looking into their missing youth case,” said Gordon. them seriously,” Gordon said. “It was just a lack of education regarding this possibility of triggering the Missing Indigenous Alert. That detective, she just didn’t know this. And once we educated her, she sent us all the information we needed.”

“We still see an imbalance of not all cases, not all jurisdictions or counties using [Missing Indigenous Person Alert] Roxanne White, founder of Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women, People & Family.

White is an activist who helps families with missing and murdered indigenous people. While the warning is a welcome source, she said, more needs to be done to bring the missing people home. According to WSP, there are currently 128 missing Indigenous adults and adolescents in Washington state.

“I have had a number of missing persons cases where officers came into contact with a missing individual. And the only thing they’re legally required to do is tell them ‘Did you know you were missing?’ and ‘You should contact your family.’ And that’s it,” White said. “They can be trafficked, exploited, abused in the country. There is a big hole in the system.”

Gordon explains how limited law enforcement is when it comes to releasing information about missing people who have been located.

“Believe me, I have grown children and I can understand and sympathize with family members who are frustrated. But unfortunately, we have no other ability to tell family members where their loved ones are. It’s a privacy issue. “They have a right to disappear as adults,” said Gordon. Gordon encourages families of missing loved ones to contact her team directly for help raising awareness and resolving issues of police authority.

“We are now a small group of subject matter experts across this entire program, I’m really proud of that. So when you call and contact the state patrol about a missing person notification, you get one out of four people doing this full time, this is their job and that’s the focus. theirs,” Gordon continued.

To contact the Washington State Patrol’s missing and unidentified person, call 1-800-543-5678 or email mupu@wsp.wa.gov.

To sign up for the Missing Indigenous Peoples Alert, visit the WSP website.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/community/facing-race/washington-state-missing-indigenous-person-alert-system/281-435b926d-447c-4637-b57f-8e6c23e9ef2f Missing Indigenous Person Alert an early success in Washington

Edmund DeMarche

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