Campaign for the Missing is a grassroots effort to pass legislation in each state that will serve to improve the law enforcement community's ability to locate and ensure a safe return of missing persons. It will address the national problems of missing persons and the identification of human remains and provide the framework for improving law enforcement's response. It will also improve the collection of critical information about missing persons, prioritize high-risk missing persons cases, and ensure prompt dissemination of critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public that can improve the likelihood of a safe return.
The Department of Justice, working with Federal, State, and local law enforcement; coroners and medical examiners; victim advocates; forensic scientists; key policymakers; and family members who have lived through this tragic experience, developed the model to be presented in each state’s legislature.
This is a sample letter you may use to send to your state senator to ask for sponsorship of the model legislation:
Dear Senator _________,
It has come to my attention that there is a very real and growing problem here in the state of ____________.
Each year, families in __________ struggle with the agony of having to report a missing loved one. Far too often missing persons investigations grow cold, leaving many to cope with this loss. Historically, the law enforcement community's ability to locate and ensure a safe return of those missing has been hampered by an inability to share resources and information when conducting investigations and identifying remains.
In collaboration with experts representing State and local law enforcement, policymakers, forensic scientists, medical examiners and coroners, and crime victims, the U.S. Department of Justice has developed model State legislation. This model legislation seeks to address the national problems of missing persons and the identification of human remains. For cases involving missing persons, law enforcement's ability to locate and ensure a safe return must be improved. Law enforcement must be granted additional tools to identify high-risk missing persons cases and promptly disseminate critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public. This model legislation provides framework for improving law enforcement's response.
It suggests ways States can improve the collection of critical information about missing persons, prioritize high-risk missing persons cases, and ensure prompt dissemination of critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public that can improve the likelihood of a safe return. At the same time, this model legislation suggests an approach for collecting information during the missing persons reporting process that can later be used to help identify human remains.
The model legislation will also ensure that information that could help identify human remains is promptly collected and reported to national databases. Specifically, the model legislation suggests a mechanism for improving death scene investigations, centralizing within the State the reporting of unidentified remains, ensuring the delivery of human remains to an entity that can conduct an appropriate examination, ensuring the timely reporting of identifying information to national databases, and maximizing available resources that can reduce the cost of identifications.
There are an estimated 40,000-50,000 unidentified deceased persons in the US. Many of these persons may be reported missing, but without the model legislation in place as law, this number will continue to grow. This leaves families of the missing without answers, sometimes for years, and unfortunately, sometimes forever.
With more than 100,000+ missing persons cases open in the US, it is clear that we must place more importance upon actions taken that will decrease this number. We are, after all, not talking about numbers, but about human beings. These missing persons are loved and missed by their families. We need to take swift and firm action to put into place laws which will give these families hope and increase the number who come back home.
As my state representative, I ask you to strongly consider sponsoring this bill in the next legislative session. Thank you.
HERE IS A LINK FOR THE MODEL LEGISLATION FROM PROJECT JASON