Montana and federal agencies will host a training in June to brief law enforcement and the public on how to approach missing persons cases.
Media coverage in recent years has contributed to heightened attention on the number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Montana and the perceived failure of law enforcement to respond.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said the missing persons training this summer is part of the push to solve cross-jurisdictional barriers between sovereign nations and other types of law enforcement.
“This, unfortunately, has led to a number of lives being lost, and I think that the time is right to finally get some things done and do a better job, and that’s what we aim to do,” said Fox.
He said they’ll use the training as a jumping-off point for next steps, and may consider more trainings in the future, along with open discussions and town halls.
The June 12 training in Helena will involve a track for federal, state, and tribal law enforcement on accepting and entering a missing person’s report and conducting missing persons investigations. A separate session for the public will cover how to report a missing person and information about missing persons databases.
The Montana Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Montana, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are sponsoring the training.
Legislators this session passed several bills aimed at tackling the issue of missing and murdered indigenous people, including one to establish and fund a missing persons specialist in the state.