State’s Missing Indigenous Person Alert now active


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Washington state’s new alert system for missing indigenous people went online July 1, connecting tribal, state, federal, and municipal agencies for a coordinated response when a member of a tribe is reported missing and law enforcement deems them in danger.
The Missing Indigenous Person Alert (MIPA) is an addition to the existing suite of Missing Endangered Alert Systems, alongside the familiar Amber Alert, in which the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit (MUPU) coordinates with the Washington State Department of Transportation and in-state broadcasters.
“This is a significant step for our state and agency,” MUPU Director Carrie Gordon said in a news release. “We know that indigenous people go missing at a significantly higher rate than the general population.”
MIPA is intended to create a rapid response in order to find and assist indigenous people in danger.
“Hopefully, like our other alerts, the system will not be needed very often. But when it is needed and used, we feel it can be a very helpful tool in recovery,” Gordon said.
For the system to be activated, an indigenous person must be reported missing to law enforcement due to unexplained, involuntary, or suspicious circumstances; be believed to be in danger because of age, health, adverse weather, or other circumstances; and be
believed to be unable to return to safety without assistance.
When activating an alert, the missing person’s age, height, weight, hair color, and other distinguishing characteristics will be requested, along with photos. If a vehicle is involved, law enforcement will also request the make, model, color, license plate number, etc.
When MIPA is activated, all Washington law enforcement will be notified, signs will be displayed on major roadways, and alerts will go out to any person and agency that signs up for notification of MIPA in the same way Amber Alerts are distributed.
“It is the first like it in the United States and we are hopeful it will be a powerful tool in location and recovery efforts,” stated WSP Chief John R. Batiste.

To speak to a State Patrol Tribal Liason:

Patti Gosch – or (360) 280-0567
Dawn Pullin – or (360) 890-0150