SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Recently, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a package of bills authored by Assemblymembers Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) and Paul Cook (R-Yucaipa), and sponsored by Moe Dubois, the father of 14-year-old Amber Dubois and founder of MoreKids. (14-year-old Escondido resident Amber Dubois was abducted and murdered in 2009 by John Albert Gardner – the man also convicted of killing teenager Chelsea King.)
The measures: Assembly Bill 33, the Peace Officer Missing Child Standards Act; AB 34, the Missing Child Notification Protection Act; and AB 1022, the Missing Persons Coordination Act; jointly authored by Assemblymembers Nava and Cook , will enhance law enforcement training and response and improve statewide coordination and data sharing when children go missing.
“We at More Kids could not be happier with the final outcome of our first year of legislative work. Each of our three bills now signed by the Governor addressed a specific area of concern and the most cost effective way to improve the flaws in the system. We appreciate the efforts of the offices of Assemblymen Nava and Cook, and the numerous members of law enforcement who took the time to meet with us and address the issues which truly hinder the recovery process for our missing children.”
Said former prosecutor, now Assemblymember Nava, “It is my hope that future tragedies will be prevented with these bills. Mr. Dubois has transformed his loss in a way that benefits all California’s families. For over a year he visited police departments up and down this state looking for ways to help find missing kids. Time is your enemy when a child is missing. These three bills reduce the amount of time a child is missing. These three bills represent his work and prayers. On behalf of Amber and families everywhere, we thank the Governor for signing these bills.”
Said Assemblymember Cook, “I’m excited that the Governor has signed these very important bills into law. These bills are the most important legislation that I have been able to work on in my time in Sacramento. I want to thank Moe Dubois and Rebecca Smith for their hard, dedicated work on these issues. They have been able to turn a horrible tragedy into an opportunity to prevent tragedies like this in the future. As a parent, I believe these bills will be pivotal in ensuring the safety and protection of our children.”
See package of bills below.
AB 33-Peace Officers Missing Child Standards Act
· This bill would: disseminate the California Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST)’s “Guidelines For Handling Missing Persons Investigations” via a Department of Justice (DOJ) bulletin and through the California Law Enforcement Website. It also directs POST to update their Guidelines For Handling Missing Persons Investigations.
· Would require law enforcement agencies to adopt a checklist document for missing person investigations, establish guidelines on missing persons investigations, and utilize a missing person reporting form (by January 1, 2012).
· Would direct the DOJ, through the Violent Crimes Information Center (VCIC) to create a list of possible suspects and provide that list to law enforcement, in the event of a suspected stranger abduction of a child.
AB 34 –Missing Child Notification Protection Act
· Missing Person Notification Timeframe:
o Upon the filing of a credible police report that an adult or child is missing, the law enforcement agency receiving the report shall, within 2 hours after the receipt of the report, transmit the report for inclusion within the California Violent Crime Information Center (CVIC) and the National Crime Information Center databases.
· NamUs Notification and Participation
o Federal law authorizes and funds the creation of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), to facilitate data sharing about missing persons to governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and individual persons.
o AB 34 will allow the state to provide information about missing children to NamUs.
AB 1022-Missing Persons Coordination Act
· Creates the position of a Missing Persons Coordinator within the California Department of Justice. This new director shall:
o Assist law enforcement agencies, at the rest of said agencies, with the timely search and recovery of at-risk abducted children;
o Utilize existing resources and expertise within the Attorney General’s office to the extent possible; and
o Maintain up-to-date knowledge and expertise of protocols, best practices and technologies that are most effective for recovering missing children in a timely manner.