June 13, 2019

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill to Strengthen Tribal and Federal Coordination and Reduce Violence in Native Communities

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today cosponsored legislation expanding coordination between tribal and federal law enforcement to support federal, state and local efforts to respond to violence in Native communities. Introduced by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-N.M.), the BADGES for Native Communities Act improves data collection and information sharing, promotes tribal outreach and empowers tribal law enforcement with federal resources.

“All too often, violent crimes in Native communities go unreported, and many tribal law enforcement do not have enough support to protect their jurisdictions. It’s unacceptable that Nevada’s tribal communities lack access to federal resources that allow Native people to keep their family, friends and neighbors safe. This legislation marks an important step in improving tribal and federal coordination so that we can protect and strengthen Native communities in Nevada, and throughout the country.” 

In addition to Senators Cortez Masto and Udall, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) also cosponsored the bill.

BACKGROUND

The BADGES for Native Communities Act strengthens coordination between federal law enforcement and tribal law enforcement by expanding data sharing and access, particularly in terms of tracking missing persons. The bill also requires the National Institute of Justice to appoint at least one tribal liaison to conduct ongoing tribal outreach, improve coordination with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI, and serve as a National Missing and Unidentified Persons System point of contact for tribes. This legislation also requires several reports to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and highlight future areas of need.

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