Among California’s new laws taking effect in 2023 is the launch of Feather Alert, a system designed to help the state find Indigenous people who have gone missing “under unexplained or suspicious circumstances.”
Feather Alert will work similarly to Amber Alert, which is activated for child abductions, a news release from the office of Assemblymember James C. Ramos, who created the new law, said.
The Feather Alert system is supposed to alert the public when a person is missing under mysterious circumstances. The notifications will be sent through the California Highway Patrol, which already runs the Amber Alert and Silver Alert systems.
The alert system will be triggered when:
- The missing person is an Indigenous woman or Indigenous person.
- The investigating law enforcement agency has utilized available local and tribal resources.
- The law enforcement agency determines that the person has gone missing under unexplainable or suspicious circumstances.
- The law enforcement agency believes that the person is in danger.
- Information is available that, if disseminated to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the missing person.
The alert will be activated at the request of a law enforcement agency or tribal authority, who will determine if the criteria have been met for activation, according to a news release.
Ramos created the new law in an effort to reduce violent crimes against Native Americans. A report by the Sovereign Bodies Institute showed that about 9% of murders of Indigenous women in California are solved.
“I am gratified that the governor approved this bill to help stop the violence afflicting California’s Native American communities,” Ramos said.