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Funds provided for missing people database in North Dakota

November 18, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A database of missing people in North Dakota finally has the funding to get it off the ground.

The state Legislature passed a law in 2019 which created the database. And with $300,000 allocated during the recent special session, the Attorney General’s Office has the money to implement the tool.

The funding comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“It will greatly enhance our chance of finding people who may be missing or have been murdered,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said.

The database will enable all law enforcement, including tribal officers, to upload information into a shared system.

“The problem with missing persons is amplified many times on our Indian reservations, and it is something that is of crucial and critical importance to the families who may be missing these people,” Stenehjem said.

The new system will also give the public access so they can assist in searches, KXNews reported.

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“We do have an epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and men, people, so this database is for everyone but it will also include tribal affiliation,” Rep. Ruth Buffalo said.

Stenehjem expects the database rollout to take six to eight months.

“Very happy, very excited, but also a heavy heart when we think of the families and the victims who are still out there and who have not been found,” Buffalo said.