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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Appoints First Missing And Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator For Utah

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – U.S. Attorney John W. Huber announced today the appointment of Brian Speelman as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) coordinator in Utah.

As Utah’s first MMIP coordinator, Speelman will gather reliable data to identify MMIP cases connected to Utah; conduct outreach with tribal communities to assist in the creation and implementation of community action plans; and coordinate with tribal, local, state, and federal law enforcement in the development of protocols and procedures for responding to and addressing MMIP cases.

Speelman, who will coordinate with tribal communities and serve victims throughout Utah, will work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City.

U.S.  Attorney General William Barr launched a national strategy in November to address missing and murdered Native Americans. As a part of the initiative, the Department of Justice made funding available to hire MMIP coordinators in 11 states, including Utah.

“American Indian and Alaska Native people suffer from unacceptable and disproportionately high levels of violence, which can have lasting impacts on families and communities. Native American women face particularly high rates of violence, with at least half suffering sexual or intimate-partner violence in their lifetime. Too many of these families have experienced the loss of loved ones who went missing or were murdered,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “This important initiative will further strengthen the federal, state, and tribal law enforcement response to these continuing problems.”

“My office is fully committed to our tribal partners in Utah, and this new position will add to our combined capabilities. The position is designed to help serve crime victim families who have suffered from missing or murdered family members. It will also enable my office to better collaborate with other groups in Utah working on MMIP issues,” U.S. Attorney Huber said today.  “Brian Speelman brings decades of experience, and is committed to working with our tribal communities and other stakeholders to reduce violent crime and deliver justice.”

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Speelman worked as an FBI agent, retiring as a Supervisory Special Agent in 2011.  Following his retirement, he was appointed Director of the Utah Statewide Information and Analysis Center (SIAC), which was recognized in 2015 with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Services.  Most recently, Speelman worked as an associate with the Argonne National Laboratory focusing on homeland security issues.  He is a graduate of the University of Maryland.

The strategy announced in November by DOJ has three parts:

Establish MMIP coordinators: The Department of Justice is investing resources to hire 11 MMIP coordinators in 11 states to serve with all U.S. Attorney’s offices in those states, and others who request assistance. The states are Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Utah, Nevada, Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico, and Washington. MMIP coordinators will work closely with federal, tribal, state and local agencies to develop common protocols and procedure for responding to reports of missing or murdered indigenous people.

Specialized FBI Rapid Deployment Teams: The strategy will bring needed tools and resources to law enforcement. Upon request by a tribal, state, or local law enforcement agency, the FBI will provide expert assistance based upon the circumstances of a missing indigenous persons case. FBI resources and personnel, which may be activated to assist with cases include: Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) teams, Cellular Analysis Support Teams, Evidence Response Teams, Cyber Agents for timely analysis of digital evidence/social media, Victim Services Division Response Teams, and others. MMIP coordinators will assist in developing protocols.

Comprehensive Data Analysis: The department will perform in-depth analysis of federally supported databases and analyze data collection practices to identify opportunities to improve data and share the results of this analysis with our partners in this effort.

More broadly, the MMIP Initiative will involve a coordinated effort by more than 50 U.S. Attorneys on the Attorney General’s Native American Issues Subcommittee (NAIS), the FBI, and the Office of Tribal Justice, with support from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

Updated June 26, 2020

Office and Personnel Updates