FBI and US Attorney announce Alaska's role in Alaska Native violence crisis

US Attorney Bryan Schroder speaks in 2019.
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Five days after US Attorney General William Barr announced the creation of a special task force to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people, two Alaska agencies have announced what the state’s role in implementing the program will be.

US Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffery Peterson outlined three primary pieces of the initiative that officials hope will allow them to respond more effectively to the high numbers of Alaska Natives that go missing or are murdered each year.

The first part of the strategy involves hiring a coordinator for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People within the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska. The coordinator will be charged with developing standardized ways to respond to reports of missing and murdered Indigenous people between local, state, tribal and federal authorities.

Secondly, the FBI will create Rapid Deployment Teams to respond to cases in rural areas that don’t have sufficient law enforcement.

According to ta release from the US Attorney’s Office, a prototype for the program came from the FBI’s response to the abduction of Ashley Johnson-Barr, a 10-year-old girl who went missing and whose body was eventually found with signs of strangulation and sexual abuse in Kotzebue. In response, the Anchorage FBI organized the “first of its kind ‘state based’ Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) Team).”

Finally, the FBI and US Attorney in Alaska will use data analysis to identify opportunities to improve response to missing persons and share that information with other law enforcement agencies.

According to the release, the FBI and the Alaska State Troopers started analyzing all the data involving missing Alaska Natives in July of this year and hope to have publicly-releasable data in the coming months.

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