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Colorado will launch its new Missing Indigenous Person Alert program on Friday

The MIPA will work similar to Colorado's AMBER Alerts, Senior Alerts, and others
Posted at 4:42 PM, Dec 27, 2022

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Come Friday, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will have the ability to send a Missing Indigenous Person Alert when an Indigenous person is reported missing in the state.

The Missing Indigenous Person Alert (MIPA) is part of Senate Bill 22-150, which required that the Colorado Department of Public Safety create the Office of Liaison for Missing or Murdered Indigenous Relatives. The office hired its first director, Arron Julian, in late November.

The Senate Bill, signed into law by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on July 1, 2022, acknowledged the unique challenges that stem from these cases, which includes poor and inconsistent reporting, lack of interagency cooperation, and misclassification of racial identity. Part of the bill required the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to operate a missing Indigenous person alert program.

“The CBI understands the importance and effectiveness of the various alerts that are in place in Colorado, and we are pleased to have been asked to develop this newest alert in an effort to quickly locate missing Indigenous persons and return them safely to their loved ones,” said CBI Director John Camper.

READ MORE: Colorado nonprofit hopes to use drones in missing, murdered Indigenous relatives search efforts

In order for CBI to issue a MIPA, the missing person must have an active entry in the Colorado Crime Information Center or National Crime Information Center, the person must be Indigenous, the alert must come from a law enforcement agency, and there must be enough information available to believe an alert will help locate the person. The legislation requires a law enforcement agency that receives a report of a missing Indigenous person to notify the CBI within eight hours if the person is an adult, and two hours if the person is a child.

CBI said if the incident involves an abducted Indigenous child, a statewide AMBER Alert will be issued, as long as that criteria is met.

Below is a sample of the alert and bulletin that CBI will use for a MIPA.

MIPA design_Colorado Bureau of Investigation

Come Friday, MIPA will become part of CBI's alert system, which also includes AMBER Alerts, Endangered Missing Alerts, Missing Senior Alerts, Missing Persons with Developmental Disabilities Alerts, Medina Alerts and BLUE Alerts.

The creation of Colorado's MIPA comes in the wake of the State of Washington establishing the first statewide alert system for missing Indigenous people in the United States. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law in March 2022. The bill was spearheaded by the state's current and only Native American lawmaker, Debra Lekanoff, the Associated Press reported.

Colorado's Senate Bill 22-150 was introduced that same month.

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