Call to Action - As founder and former CEO of the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA), I proudly support HB 2169 here in Arizona. The Arizona Campaign for the Missing is part of a national campaign created by Kelly Jolkowski, founder of Project Jason. The goal of the campaign is to pass legislation in each state that will better serve missing persons and their families.
Time is of the essence when searching for an 'at risk' missing person AND time is of the essence to pass HB 2169 in Arizona by February 14th. I am URGING other Arizona residents to please join in our efforts and call, email or fax our Arizona Legislators stating you support HB 2169. Please read the press release below for your representatives contact information.
WHY I SUPPORT HB 2169
Equal Services Needed for All Missing - In 1982 Congress passed the Missing Children Act, a federal mandate requiring law enforcement to take an immediate report of a missing child and enter the data into the FBI, National Crime Information Center. No such law exists for those 18 and over.
My Work with the US Department of Justice - During 2005-2006, I was elected to serve on the President's DNA Initiative - DNA Task Force, the National Missing Person Task Force and the Unidentified Dead Task Force funded through the National Institute of Justice and US Department of Justice (DOJ). Each task force was represented by experts to include local, state and federal law enforcement, anthropologists, FBI criminal profilers, forensic scientists, advocates and victim families.
As members, we were tasked with presenting the scope of the national problem and formulating recommendations utilizing existing and advanced technology to ensure unidentified, missing persons and their families received appropriate services. As a result, model legislation was developed, training initiatives, and DNA collection kits. The DNA program for missing and unidentified is facilitated by University North Texas – Center for Human Identification’s Forensic Services Unit in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Combined DNA Index System.
After working nearly 20 years with families of missing persons I can’t stress enough the importance of passing HB 2169, as recommended by the DOJ. I commend the families of missing persons who are determined and courageously speaking out not only on behalf of their own missing family member, but the thousands of missing persons who have never had a voice. It is time our Arizona lawmakers hear their voice and pass HB 2169!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Amy Dattilo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Jolkowski: email@example.com
Arizona State Representatives Rueben Gallego and Jeff Dial Co-sponsor HB 2169
Although there are 2,000 missing person cases and close to 300 unidentified human remains in the state of Arizona, there are no formal statewide mandates in place to be sure those 300 remains are thoroughly and systematically compared to the 2,000 missing persons to potentially identify the remains, close the cases, put a stop to criminals and bring some missing person home to their families. Families of the missing have therefore begun a grass roots effort to pass legislation which will aid authorities in resolving these cases and giving a name to the unidentified.
The Campaign for the Missing is based on the United States Department of Justice's Model Legislation for best practices in handling missing persons and unidentified remains cases, and the bill takes advantage of new advances in technologies and resources, providing valuable tools for law enforcement. Nonprofit organization Project Jason keeps the bill updated as advances such as national databases and DNA emerge. Project Jason helps facilitate efforts to pass it in each state. Thus far, 10 states have adopted the law.
Amy Dattilo, cousin of missing Molly Dattilo from Indiana, is the citizen lead in the Arizona campaign. Amy states: "I became involved with the bill because of my experiences when Molly disappeared. When my sister called me to tell me that Molly was missing from Indianapolis, I was shocked to find that Molly was not classified as a high risk missing person, and there was no sense of urgency due to the fact she was over the age of 18. Two weeks later, a ground search had not been conducted nor offered, so I organized it without any experience or knowledge. Time and evidence were lost forever in those first weeks. Molly has now been missing since July 6, 2004. “
Project Jason's founder, Kelly Jolkowski, is no stranger to living with ambiguous loss, as her son Jason has been missing for more than 10 years. Jolkowski feels a significant component of the proposed law is the systematic and consistent matching of key identifiers, such as fingerprints, dental records, and DNA, from a missing person to those of the unidentified. "My son's body may have been found in another state and either buried or cremated without DNA taken, processed, and entered in the national database. If that has happened, we will live the rest of our lives not knowing what happened to him. If the available identifiers are not taken and entered into national databases by both law enforcement and authorities in charge of human remains, we'll continue to have unresolved cases, and criminals will remain free to commit more crimes," she explains.
Arizona state Representatives Rueben Gallego and Jeff Dial are the co-sponsors of HB 2169. In addition to clearing missing and unidentified person cases through the collection of critical identifiers, the bill provides a checklist of data that can be collected from the reporting party, and numerous resources that will aid law enforcement in investigation and case resolution.
How the public and media can help
Arizona residents can contact all state senators and representatives, asking for support for the bill. Media assistance is requested to facilitate awareness for the Campaign for the Missing. Often, citizens are not aware of the sheer numbers of missing persons right in their own communities, and the great difficulty the investigation of these cases presents.
How to find your legislators: http://www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp
Background of the Campaign: http://projectjason.org/legislation.shtml
The purpose of this law:
House Bill 2169, Campaign for the Missing is a grassroots effort to pass legislation in each state that will serve to improve the law enforcement community's ability to locate and ensure a safe return of missing persons. It will address the local & national problems of missing persons and the identification of human remains and provide the framework for improving law enforcement's response. It will also improve the collection of critical information about missing persons, prioritize high-risk missing persons cases, and ensure prompt dissemination of critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public that can improve the likelihood of a safe return.
About Kelly Jolkowski and Project Jason
Kelly Jolkowski, president and founder of Project Jason, is one of the few non-law enforcement people trained in missing persons and has more than 100 hours of professional training on missing persons from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, The U.S. Department of Justice, and Fox Valley Technical College.
In 2010, the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime named Kelly Jolkowski as the Volunteer for Victims Honoree. Jolkowski was one of eight people honored by US Attorney General Eric Holder for their work assisting victims of crime.
Project Jason, founded in 2003, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting families of missing persons. The organization offers tactical guidance, emotional support, and hope for families continuing their searches for answers. Project Jason is based in Omaha, Nebraska. For more information about Project Jason’s objectives, activities and services, go to http://www.projectjason.org