The Florida legislator believes the FL should require the police to use an additional tool available to find missing persons
Tallahassee, Florida. Florida Representative Omari Hardy believes Florida can do more to find missing persons.
Hardy said in response to our recent investigation.
Last month, investigative reporter Katie LaGron described how law enforcement agencies have been using a federally funded, highly expansive database of missing and unknown persons in the United States.
Known as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NamUs, the system allows users to post photos of missing or unknown people, can trace DNA provided by medical examiners or family members of missing people and can be accessed by anyone at any time, including the public who He often holds the keys to solving cold cases.
But experts have long said that the NamU system is not being used adequately by law enforcement.
“Why isn’t it mandatory, that’s a great question to ask,” said Dr. Irene Kimerle, a forensic anthropologist at the University of South Florida.
For years, Dr. Kimmerle has been lobbying to get NamUs on the radar of law enforcement in Florida and across the country. Kemmerl said that state law enforcement and national databases currently have to file missing persons cases because they are often inaccurate, outdated and out of the public view.
“It’s old and frustrating. Things don’t get resolved, and that’s the bottom line it’s not working,” she said.
Kimmerle has been with many cold case investigators across the country
Advocates for states to pass laws requiring law enforcement to use NamUs.
Nearly a dozen states, including New York and California, have procured and file missing persons cases in law enforcement and are currently seeking them at NamUs.
It’s a win-win situation, this isn’t a bipartisan issue,” said Tom McCandrew of the Pennsylvania State Police as NAMOUS legislation is making its way through the state legislature.
But Florida is still among the majority of states that still give police the option to report missing person cases to NAMUs.
Detective George Loydgren is a cold case investigator in the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. He and his team have been using NamUs for years and believe the state should pass a law mandating their use among Florida law enforcement.
“This is millions of people who can watch [NamUs] This and doing the work for me. I’d just benefit from calling them and saying hi, I saw that man or woman or I know what happened to them,” Detective Loydgren told us last month when we interviewed him.
In a series of recent tweets, Gabe Pettito’s father, Joseph, also expressed confidence that the police would not use NamUs enough to help find the nearly 100,000 people still missing or unidentified in the US In one of his tweets, Joseph Pettito encouraged people to contact them. State legislators to get NamUs law on the books.
In Florida, Representative Hardy, who is running for US Congress and will not be able to finish the next state hearing, believes that any hope of introducing and passing the Florida NAMUs Act will be a matter of political will by the Senate and House leadership.
When asked why there was no political will to pass a law on an already existing, federally funded database, Hardy replied, “There are some people in the legislature who want to tell local governments how to do everything, unless we’re talking about police agencies, except If we are talking about law enforcement agencies, he said.
We have contacted more than a dozen members of the Florida House and Senate who serve on criminal justice committees along with the leadership of the House and Senate to see if they are interested in taking up the case and carrying it out during this hearing. Until the deadline, we had not heard from any lawmaker willing to take up this issue at this hearing.