Senate Bill 164 was signed into law by Governor Kristi Noem last week, laying out guidelines for law enforcement officers to handle and report on cases of missing and murdered indigenous persons, reports KNBN NewsCenter1. SB 164 also established training programs for law enforcement on how to properly conduct these types of investigations.
Advocates for this issue have long expressed their concern for the disproportionately high number of missing and murdered Native American persons, particularly women and children. According to the Department of Justice, Native American women are murdered at ten times the national rate. Until now, there have also been difficulties coordinating among tribal governments, the FBI, and local agencies on these cases. SB 164 will require the Division of Criminal Investigation to disseminate uniform guidelines on reporting and investigating cases of missing and murdered Indigenous persons to law enforcement agencies throughout South Dakota.
This issue has long plagued the Native American community, and advocates hope that this new law will help South Dakota to better protect Indigenous women and children in the future.
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