BACKGROUND: On May 10, 2017, OJJDP Acting Administrator Eileen M. Garry made a presentation on Capitol Hill in response to bill S. 772 to amend the PROTECT Act to make American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages eligible for AMBER Alert grants. Her remarks were part of a listening session sponsored by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Senator John McCain (R–AZ) introduced the bill on March 29, 2017. Although AMBER Alert efforts are comprehensive—they cover all 50 states and handle child abductions that cross U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico—American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages face unique challenges that remain, in many cases, unaddressed. These challenges include the navigation of tribal, federal, and state jurisdictions; limited 911 systems; and shortages of data management tools, dispatch systems, and software needed for disseminating critical information in the aftermath of an abduction. “In its two decades of existence, AMBER Alert has been instrumental in safely recovering hundreds of abducted children,” said Acting Administrator Garry. “It is important to continue our collective work to strengthen this vital public safety tool, especially in remote and often under-resourced areas of Indian country.”
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