Cole commends federal efforts to stop predators in Indian Country

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) last week praised recent federal actions to stem the tide of missing and murdered Native Americans.

“I am very encouraged that the Trump administration is prioritizing solutions to combat the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous persons,” Rep. Cole said on Nov. 26. “For far too long, predators have preyed on Indian Country, especially on Native women and vulnerable children.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Nov. 26 issued an executive order to establish Operation Lady Justice, an interagency task force charged with developing “an aggressive, government-wide strategy to address the crisis of missing and murdered women and girls in American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” the order says.

The task force will create multi-jurisdictional teams comprised of representatives from tribal and federal law enforcement to review unsolved cases, and will promote more cooperation among federal, local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies in responding to cases, among other duties listed in the executive order.

Additionally, U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Nov. 22 launched a national strategy to address missing and murdered Native Americans known as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Initiative.

Under the initiative, MMIP coordinators will be placed in 11 U.S. Attorney’s offices to develop protocols for a more coordinated law enforcement response to missing cases, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The plan also calls for “the deployment of the FBI’s most-advanced response capabilities when needed, improved data collection and analysis, and training to support local response efforts,” according to the DOJ statement.

“By improving coordination and strengthening the partnership between federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies, we can indeed make communities safer and bring criminals to justice across Indian Country,” said Rep. Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. “I am hopeful for the success of these initiatives.”