Greg & Missey Smith Honored for Their Foundation's Crime Prevention, Safety Awareness Efforts
Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tim Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, presented the annual Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award today to Greg and Missey Smith, founders of the Kelsey Smith Foundation.
“Kelsey Smith should have celebrated her 30th birthday last Friday,” said Garrison. “Tragically, she was abducted and murdered a few days after graduating from high school in 2007. Her parents, Greg and Missey, have honored her memory and inspired us all by promoting public policies that can save lives. They have devoted themselves to educating people across the country about crime prevention and safety awareness.”
Greg and Missey Smith started the foundation, also known as Kelsey’s Army, after Kelsey was abducted from a local department store on June 2, 2007. Surveillance video showed Kelsey leaving the store after making a purchase and being abducted when she walked to her car. The effort to find Kelsey grew so large the volunteers became known as “Kelsey’s Army.”
Four days after Kelsey’s abduction, Verizon Wireless agreed to hand over the approximate location of Kelsey’s cellphone. Her body was found less than an hour later in Grandview, Mo. Her killer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
As a result of that experience, Greg and Missey Smith began advocating to change the law to require phone companies to provide cellphone location data to law enforcement agencies in an emergency. First passed in Kansas in 2009 and later in Missouri, versions of the bill have now been signed into law in 24 states.
The Smiths also have lobbied for the Kelsey Smith Act, a proposed federal law that has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The Kelsey Smith Act provides law enforcement with a way to quickly ascertain the location of a cell phone if a person is kidnapped or if a missing person is at risk of death or serious physical harm.
The Kelsey Smith Foundation also provides seminars on such topics as safety awareness, an overview for parents, and programs for the law enforcement community.
Missey Smith was one of 12 people and programs honored by the Department of Justice at the annual National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 12. She received the Ronald Reagan Public Policy Award, which honors those whose leadership, vision and innovation have led to significant changes in public policy and practice that benefit crime victims.
The Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award
This is the 16th year for the award to be presented in memory of Crystal Kipper and Ali Kemp, two young women who were both fatal victims of tragic crimes. Crystal Kipper was an 18-year-old Gladstone, Mo., resident who was murdered after her car broke down on Interstate 29, just north of Platte City, on Feb. 24, 1997. Ali Kemp was a 19-year-old Blue Valley North High School graduate who was murdered on June 18, 2002, while she worked at the Foxborough neighborhood swimming pool in Leawood, Kan.
The Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award is presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office each year to recognize the outstanding work of an individual or organization in recognition of a valued contribution to preventing and responding to the exploitation of children.