December 27, 2022
Office of Liaison for Colorado Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives hires director
KSUT | By Clark Adomaitis
The State of Colorado has hired a director for its new Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office.
The newly created office was established to bring resources, strategies, and awareness to cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous people. In November, Arron Julian started as the new director of this team, which operates inside the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Julian is a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
"I'll be working with the tribal agencies, the Southern Ute and ute mountain," explains Julian.
It’s a role that involves networking and communication between law enforcement agencies inside and outside of tribal jurisdictions–something that can be challenging in the context of sensitive crime cases.
But we also work with all the state agencies the city the different state entities across the state of Colorado, so we'll be actually working with all law enforcement entities. And this coming year, we’ll be going out. And we do training to over a 250 police departments across the state of Colorado.
" But we also work with all the state agencies the city the different state entities across the state of Colorado, so we'll be actually working with all law enforcement entities. And this coming year, we’ll be going out. And we do training to over a 250 police departments across the state of Colorado," said Julian
The Colorado Department of Public Safety received criticism within a month of Julian's hiring. Members of the state's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Taskforce said they were not consulted in advance of the decision. Raven Payment is a member of the task force.
"Arron's only been on the job for a month, he has been extremely responsive. But I will say that, you know, the larger native community, in addition to the MMIR Task Force, are looking very closely at Aaron given that, you know, we didn't know him coming into the role. And in order to make that office succeed, you know, holding him accountable to being accountable to community, not the Department of Public Safety is our focus," said Payment.
For his part, Julian is keeping his attention on the job he’s been hired to do.
"I am very excited to be part of this. We're the second state in the United States that actually developed a state agency for missing murdered Indigenous relatives, I believe Minnesota as the first. Bringing that awareness and empathy for - the Native communities," said Julian.
"And ultimately the goal would be to, to be the lead entity across United States, so the rest of the United States can follow our lead."
Next week, the Colorado Department of Public Safety will launch a new AMBER-style alert system that will notify smartphone users across the state about a Missing Indigenous Person. And in 2023, public officer safety training courses throughout Colorado will include protocols on missing or murdered Indigenous cases.
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