DENVER, CO – Legislation sponsored by Representatives Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez and Jennifer Bacon to improve missing persons investigations today passed the House Judiciary Committee.
“This bill will ensure that all missing persons reports are taken seriously and that investigations are opened quickly,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. “We are facing an alarming increase in missing indigenous women and women of color, but it can be confusing to figure out where to file a missing person report, and jurisdictions don’t always have to accept them. The bill requires all jurisdictions to accept reports if the missing person is a Colorado resident or was last seen in Colorado, and they will now be required to accept reports over the phone or electronically, instead of just in person.”
“We need to make it easier to file missing persons reports so that every report is investigated in a timely and thorough manner,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “This bill will make sure that departments across the state are accepting reports and sharing information with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Too many cases of people of color going missing are underreported and not investigated. Victims deserve justice, and this will ensure that all cases are treated with the seriousness they deserve.”
SB22-095 would improve missing persons investigations by clarifying when Colorado law enforcement departments must accept a missing persons report. Under current law, departments are required to accept a report submitted in person if the missing person resides in the agency’s jurisdiction or was last believed to be in the agency’s jurisdiction. The bill expands this requirement to include missing persons who are Colorado residents or were last believed to be in Colorado. It also requires reports to be accepted if they are submitted over the phone or electronically. If the missing person is an adult, the agency must notify the Colorado Bureau of Investigation within eight hours (down from 24 hours), and if the missing person is a child, the agency must notify CBI within 2 hours.