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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

U.S. ATTORNEY JOHN ANDERSON APPOINTS DENISE BILLY AS THE MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS PERSONS COORDINATOR FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO

           ALBUQERQUE, N.M. - U.S. Attorney John Anderson announced today the appointment of Denise Billy to serve as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Coordinator for the District of New Mexico.  Ms. Billy will be the first MMIP Coordinator under a new Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative.   

           As the MMIP coordinator, Ms. Billy will gather reliable data to identify MMIP cases connected to New Mexico’s 22 Tribal Nations.  She will also conduct outreach with tribal communities to assist in the creation and implementation of community action plans.  Her duties will further include coordinating with tribal, local, state and federal law enforcement to develop protocols and procedures for responding to and addressing MMIP cases. Ms. Billy will serve tribal communities and victims throughout New Mexico and will seek to improve data collection as well as assist our tribal partners and advocacy groups.

           “I am delighted that Ms. Billy is joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office as our first MMIP Coordinator,” said U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson.  “Ms. Billy served in many law enforcement capacities for years, which I believe will suit her well in this new position.  Developing national and local protocols to address the MMIP crisis is a priority for the Department of Justice and for the U.S. Attorney’s Office here in New Mexico.  I have every confidence that Ms. Billy will make valuable contributions to this effort.”

           “I am honored and delighted to be chosen to serve as the MMIP Coordinator for the District of New Mexico,” said Ms. Billy. “I look forward to continuing to serve tribal communities here in the heart of Indian Country. This issue is of utmost importance to me and to our Tribal Nations.”

           “We are sad that she will be leaving the department, as she has been a valuable asset throughout her work here, but she is ideally qualified for this opportunity,” said Chief Sylvester Stanley of the Isleta Police Department. “While she is leaving as an employee, we are pleased that she will still be assisting us on several issues from her new position. I am confident that she will be an outstanding addition to the Office of the U.S. Attorney.”

           Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Billy served as a Criminal Investigator for the Isleta Pueblo Department of Criminal Investigations.  She has also served the Navajo Nation as a Patrol Officer and a Criminal Investigator.  She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and is also working on a Master’s Degree in Law and Indigenous People’s Law from the University of Oklahoma.  Ms. Billy is a member of the Navajo Nation.

           On November 22, 2019, Attorney General William Barr launched a national strategy to address missing and murdered Native Americans. When establishing the MMIP Initiative, DOJ made an initial investment of $1.5 million to hire MMIP coordinators to serve with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in 11 states, including New Mexico.

           The strategy also calls for the deployment of the FBI’s most advanced response capabilities when needed, improved data collection and analysis and training to support local response efforts.

Topic(s): 
Office and Personnel Updates
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
20-124
Updated July 28, 2020