U.S. Attorneys Announce Appointment Of Michigan's First Missing And Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Andrew Birge and Matthew Schneider, the U.S. Attorneys for the Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan respectively, announced the appointment of Joel Postma to serve as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Coordinator for the two districts. As the MMIP Coordinator for both districts, Mr. Postma will respond to MMIP issues affecting each of the 12 Tribes in the state.
Mr. Postma is one of ten such Coordinators around the country appointed by the Department of Justice. He will gather reliable data to identify MMIP cases connected to Michigan, conduct outreach with Tribal communities to understand the challenges revealed through past experience, coordinate with Tribal, federal, state and local law enforcement in the development of protocols and procedures for responding to and addressing MMIP, provide training and assistance and promote improved data collection and analyses throughout Michigan. Mr. Postma will work out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids in order to facilitate meeting with each of the 12 Michigan Tribal communities, as circumstances allow.
Prior to accepting the MMIP appointment, Mr. Postma served for 25 years as an agent of the FBI. His service with the FBI included several years working cases involving missing and runaway children as well as death investigations in Indian Country in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He was an early and active participant in Tribal Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) and Child Protection Team (CPT) meetings. He also established protocols for drug investigations in Indian Country and initiated a "ride-along" program to foster a better working relationship between the FBI and Tribal law enforcement.
"We are very excited to welcome Mr. Postma into this important new position designed to serve native crime victims and their families. Tribal communities have long suffered disproportionate violent crime and now the MMIP challenges in particular have caught the attention of the Department. Mr. Postma is eminently qualified to help respond to the challenges and comes recommended to us by Tribal as well as state and federal law enforcement members who know him," said U.S. Attorney Birge.
U.S. Attorney Schneider added that, "Joel Postma has outstanding qualifications, and he will be a great asset as Michigan’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator. We are pleased to have him join our team to serve and support Tribal communities and our partners in law enforcement."
On November 22, 2019, Attorney General William Barr launched a national strategy to address missing and murdered Native Americans. When establishing the MMIP Initiative, the Department of Justice made an initial investment of $1.5 million to hire MMIP coordinators to serve with U.S. Attorney’s Offices in 11 states, including Michigan. 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.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.