Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), alongside Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Sharice Davids (D-KS), introduced the Bridging Agency Data Gaps & Ensuring Safety (BADGES) for Native Communities Act, a bipartisan bill that strengthens Tribal law enforcement and increases public safety in Indian Country.
The legislation addresses federal inefficiencies that hurt Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement recruitment and retention, increases the effectiveness of federal missing persons resources, and gives resources to Tribes and states to combat the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“Native American communities and law enforcement agencies face an uphill battle investigating cases of missing and murdered indigenous women due to lack of access to coordinated federal crime data,” said Rep. Newhouse. “This legislation provides critical federal resources and access to criminal databases to tribal law enforcement so they can effectively investigate these cases and help end the MMIW crisis.”
“For years, the federal government has failed to provide tribal communities the resources needed to adequately ensure public safety and properly support Tribal law enforcement agencies,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “I’m proud to introduce this important legislation today, which will help recruit and retain Tribal law enforcement officers, address the unmet public safety needs of Tribal communities and improve coordination between Tribal, federal, and state agencies in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons cases. This is a widely supported, bipartisan effort, and I look forward to finally getting this bill passed.”
“Increasing coordination between federal, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies will improve public safety in tribal communities and help address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples. I am once again proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan BADGES Act, which will provide additional support to tribal law enforcement officers as they protect tribal communities,” said Rep. Sharice Davids.
“The Gila River Indian Community supports Rep. Gallego’s efforts to increase the safety of tribal communities by providing the data, access and resources needed to ensure we can retain law enforcement officers and that our law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to keep our communities safe. As a sovereign nation, there is no greater obligation than the safety of our members and all those who enter our Community. The “Bridging Agency Data Gaps and Ensuring Safety” (BADGES) for Native Communities Act will strengthen tribal law enforcement agencies, and provide the data and resources to keep our Communities safe. The Community appreciates Rep. Gallego’s leadership in introducing this bipartisan bill and looks forward to working with Rep. Gallego as the bill moves forward,” said Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, Gila River Indian Community.
“Inefficient data sharing, poor recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers, and the lack of coordination among Federal, state, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies remain significant barriers to justice for Native women and children experiencing disproportionate levels of violence,” said Lucy R. Simpson, Executive Director, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC). “The Bridging Agency Data Gaps and Ensuring Safety (BADGES) for Native Communities Act will help to address some of these inefficiencies by supporting data systems and law enforcement coordination efforts, as well as empowering Tribes with the resources needed to find our missing relatives and end this crisis of violence.”
“Ensuring the safety of our Native communities is critical, which is why NCAI applauds the introduction of the Bridging Agency Data Gaps and Ensuring Safety for Native Communities Act (BADGES) that is a meaningful step forward to ending the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Relatives across the country. We urge Congress to pass this legislation and help keep our people and our families safer,” said Larry Wright, Jr., Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.
“As a society, it is crucial that we recognize and honor the unique needs and sovereignty of each tribal community,” said Angel Charley, Executive Director, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. “Legislation that protects the rights and safety of our communities is necessary to address the systemic inequalities we face and promotes justice and equity for communities most impacted by violence. By supporting the BADGES for Native Communities Act, we demonstrate our commitment to building a more accountable, inclusive, and respectful partnership that uplifts the needs of survivors.”
“I am grateful for the leadership of Congressman Gallego and Senator Cortez Masto for championing the BADGES Act. Our people deserve improved law enforcement coordination when reporting their loved ones missing. By increasing resources for tribes and urban Indian organizations, the federal government upholds its responsibility to establish public safety in Indian Country,” said Esther Lucero, President & CEO, Seattle Indian Health Board.
“Violence against Indigenous women is a human rights crisis in the United States. Ensuring tribal law enforcement have the resources and data they need to address this crisis is an important step in responding to—and preventing—violence against Indigenous women. We urge Congress to swiftly pass the BADGES Act and help end this epidemic of violence,” said Tarah Demant, Interim National Director, Programs, Government Relations and Advocacy, Amnesty International USA.
“The reintroduction of the Bridging Agency Data Gaps and Ensuring Safety for Native Communities Act is a vital step towards addressing the longstanding issue of missing, unidentified or murdered Native people in our country. This is a major issue for Native people both on and off reservation, including in urban areas. This legislation establishes an avenue for Tribes and urban Indian organizations to directly communicate and coordinate with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and supports information sharing between Tribes and urban Indian organizations and law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and regional levels. This legislation is one way to help bring justice and closure to Native families and communities and hopefully will make it so fewer Native families have to suffer this terrible burden in the future. We must continue to advocate for policies that prioritize the safety and wellbeing of Indigenous communities, and the passage of this Act is a critical step in that direction,” said Francys Crevier (Algonquin), CEO for the National Council of Urban Indian Health.