Lawmakers to discuss measure on missing and murdered indigenous cases
PIERRE, S.D. — Lawmakers plan to discuss a bill that would establish standard expectations for how law enforcement officials handle and report on cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.
The House State Affairs Committee will vote on Senate Bill 164 on Wednesday.
The measure would also require that the Division of Criminal Investigation establish training programs for law enforcement personnel on how to conduct investigations.
For decades, advocates have voiced concern that cases involving missing and murdered women have been improperly handled by various law enforcement entities, and that there’s an overall lack of coordination in collecting data on such incidences.
Additionally, Native American and Alaska Native women, who make up less than one percent of the population, represent a disproportionately high number of ongoing missing person cases in the U.S.
The sponsors of SB 164 hope that the measure will help better protect indigenous women going into the future.
If the bill passes, the guidelines will be distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout South Dakota.