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PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED MISSING AND ENDANGERED PERSONS EVENT CODE OPEN UNTIL JUNE 17, 2024


On June 15, 2021, Ella Mae Begay was reported missing from her residence near Sweetwater, Arizona, by family members. 


In the ongoing efforts to address the pressing issue of missing and murdered indigenous persons, a proposal for a Missing and Endangered Persons Event Code has garnered significant attention and support. The United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF), a non-profit inter-tribal organization representing 33 federally recognized Tribal Nations, expressed its support for adopting the MEP event code. Their endorsement is rooted in the belief that such a code would facilitate greater interagency coordination between Tribal and non-Tribal public safety agencies.


"We are pleased that Tribal Nations, tribal entities, and tribal citizens are weighing in and including their voices on this critical issue in the rulemaking process. Missing and murdered relatives affect all of Indian Country, and an alert event code specific to missing and endangered adults can be a part of the overall solution," states Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media. "We encourage everyone to participate in the Reply Comment Period."


For the Southern Ute Tribe, the plight of indigenous relatives who have gone missing or murdered is a grave concern demanding urgent attention. In their comments to the FCC, they state, "This is an ongoing humanitarian issue that deserves to be addressed individually." The Tribe staunchly advocates for the creation of a dedicated Emergency Alert System (EAS) Event Code specifically tailored to address the alarming rate of missing indigenous individuals, both within and outside tribal lands.


Echoing the sentiments of USET SPF, the National Tribal Telecommunications Association (NTTA) throws its weight behind the proposal, emphasizing the potential of dedicated codes to save numerous lives, particularly those of missing Native American women. NTTA states their support underscores the critical need to bridge the existing gap in alert systems, which currently lack specific provisions for missing Indigenous persons, leaving them disproportionately vulnerable.


Other comments express the urgency of implementing the Missing and Endangered Persons Event Code, underscoring the need also to address the chronic underfunding of Tribal public safety programs and the federal government's failure to recognize Tribal Nations' criminal jurisdiction over their lands fully. With Indian Country's police staffing falling well below national standards, the need for enhanced coordination and resources to address public safety concerns is more pressing than ever.


However, the successful integration of the proposed MEP alerts hinges on various factors, including authentication protocols and comprehensive education efforts. According to the CTIA, a leading industry trade group representing the U.S. wireless communications sector, collaboration between alert originators, FEMA, and the public is crucial for effectively implementing new alert types, including MEP alerts.


As the public discourse on this critical issue continues, citizens are encouraged to participate by submitting comments on the proposed Missing and Endangered Persons Event Code. The Reply Comment Period remains open until June 17, 2024, allowing individuals to voice their perspectives and contribute to shaping policies addressing the pressing concerns surrounding missing and endangered persons, particularly within indigenous communities. Citizens can submit comments electronically through the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), accessible at https://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/.

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