A couple of years ago, Kerry Messer’s wife Lynn went missing. As of yet, they haven’t found her. I do agree that it would be horrible to have a loved one missing and not have closure as to whether they are living or dead. Absolutely horrible. However, creating paid positions and a new agency at the state level to do what the police and Highway Patrol already (and should) do is not actually a “conservative value”.
Kerry has been a paid lobbyist for nearly forever. He has ingratiated himself to the upper echelons of the Republican power structure in Jefferson City. Now he has enabled a bill that could create a six year position paid for by Missourian’s and that bill is sponsored by 24 Missouri State Senators. They are not all Republicans, either. And the bill does NOT say who the first appointee to this proposed position and newly created office might be.
SB1087 would create another agency at the state level under the Office of Administration. It would be the “Office of Missing Persons Advocate” and the main purpose would be to act as a liaison between law enforcement and the people dealing with a missing loved one. That sounds nice, but law enforcement already has people that are charged with that responsibility.
The questions that we need to ask about this bill are many.
First of all, and probably most importantly, the level of sensitive information to be afforded to the people holding positions in the new “office” is quite extensive. DNA, contacts, social media, all identifying numbers, like SS#, drivers license, physical descriptions, identifying marks and everything to do with a person’s identity and whereabouts is to be delivered to this office.
The proposed office shall work completely independent of law enforcement. The head position is an appointment, and actually includes a Director and a Deputy Director for a period of six years. There are no qualifications stipulated for any appointee to the position. No familiarity with lawful processes, dealing with people in duress (meaning those whose loved one is missing) or with security of sensitive information are put forward in the bill.
There are seven duties of the one holding the proposed office, and they largely have to do with handling and forwarding information that may be relevant to a crime, but no training would be required for the people appointed to the position. Also, no penalties for failing to maintain the security of the information are stipulated.
Another duty is to strive to get grants and funding for the Office. As most everyone is now aware, if you get a grant from the Feds, it puts you under their authority, and it mucks up accountability pretty well.
While I have deep sympathy for people going through the experience of a missing loved one, this bill looks to create another state bureaucracy to do a job that already is done by law enforcement, and one that actually belongs in the hands of law enforcement.
If there is a deeper need of meeting the emotional duress associated with the pain of a missing loved one, should that be put in the hands of an additional state office? Wouldn’t a support group be a more appropriate and less cumbersome thing to create?
Read through the bill and see what you think about this. Please feel free to comment!