OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that works to address unsolved cases of missing and murdered Native Americans went into effect on Monday.
Senate Bill 172, also known as Ida’s Law, directs the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to coordinate with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department to get federal funding to create a database.
The legislation also requires the creation of the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons. The office would serve under OSBI and collaborate with tribal, state and federal authorities on missing persons and homicide cases, give guidance to victims’ families, facilitate training, promote best practices and consult with community organizations to promote community relations.
OSBI Director Ricky Adams says they are taking steps to implement the bill on behalf of missing and murdered indigenous persons in Oklahoma.
“Every life is important. Our goal is to work with our law enforcement partners at all levels – tribal, local, state and federal – to ensure every case involving American Indian individuals is thoroughly investigated,” said Director Adams. “In addition to our agents, criminalists and intelligence analysts, who are available to assist with all aspects of an investigation, the Bureau has high-tech resources and other tools available to the tribes to help solve cases involving their citizens.”
After the bill passed in April, the OSBI assigned Special Agent Dale Fine to be the liaison to the tribes to implement Ida’s Law.
“We applaud the creation and permanent staffing of an OSBI office to take on the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Mr. Fine, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is an exceptional choice to head up the new initiative. He has a long and distinguished career in safety and law enforcement, including with tribal law enforcement. Tribes and Indian people in Oklahoma have a true expert within this new office, and I know he will commit the needed time and resources to stop crime against Native people and bring justice for victims and their families.”
Oklahoma currently has more than 200 missing American Indians.