A federal bill introduced Wednesday would help address the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis by supporting law enforcement agency data sharing and officer recruitment and retention, officials said.
U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican from Sunnyside, joined a bipartisan group led by U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, to introduce the Bridging Agency Data Gaps & Ensuring Safety (BADGES) for Native Communities Act, according to a news release. The bill will also ensure that tribes are able to continue important programs that currently work to increase public safety by making them permanent, the release said.
"For too long, Native American communities and law enforcement agencies have struggled to access coordinated federal crime data. The BADGES for Native Communities Act aims to address this issue by providing tribes and tribal law enforcement access to federal resources and criminal databases needed to effectively investigate cases of missing and murdered indigenous women," Newhouse said.
Washington state is ranked second among states in number of cases related to missing and murdered indigenous women with 71 identified cases. Washington’s 4th Congressional District is home to two federally recognized tribes, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.