Congressman Biggs Introduces the "AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017"
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Biggs introduced the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017. This legislation closes a loophole in the original AMBER Alert authorization that prevented Indian tribes from being eligible to apply for Department of Justice Grants to assemble a child abduction warning system on Native American reservations. The bill additionally requires the U.S. Attorney General to report to Congress on specific readiness, education, training needs, technological challenges, or other obstacles specific to Indian tribes in implementing this system.
“On National Missing Children’s Day, I am reminded of all of the boys and girls who will not go home to their families and friends. The AMBER Alert program has been remarkably successful since its inception, helping law enforcement and local communities locate more than 800 abducted children and return them to their homes. I was surprised to learn that this program did not extend to Indian countries, which is the reason why I introduced this bipartisan legislation. No child – regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or birthplace – should be outside the protection and jurisdiction of such a vital security resource, and I am proud to lead this bill.” U.S. Congressman Andy Biggs
"This legislation is significant in that it provides tribal communities the access needed to develop and sustain comprehensive programs to partner with their state and regional AMBER Alert plans. This legislation helps to assure Native American children have access to the same resources as nonnative children in the event of an abduction. It's something tribal public safety and child protection officials have sought for the last decade," Jim Walters, Program Administrator, Amber Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program, National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC).
"The National Criminal Justice Training Center has been committed to providing training and technical assistance training to underserved and rural areas for over two decades. We believe this legislation is an important step forward for the AMBER Alert program. When first conceived, the original program didn't contemplate the important role that tribes and tribal law enforcement could play in what has now become a national network," Brad Russ, Director, National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC).
Congressman Andy Biggs is a first-term Representative from Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, representing parts of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Sun Lakes, and Queen Creek. Congressman Biggs is a member of the House Judiciary and Science, Space, and Technology committees, and is the chairman of the Environment Subcommittee. He lives with his wife Cindy in Gilbert.