News Spotlight: Gov. Whitmer Celebrates Appointment of Jolene Hardesty to the Not Invisible Act Commission

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LANSING, Mich. — On May 6, Governor Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the appointment of Jolene Hardesty, Missing Persons Clearinghouse Analyst for the Michigan State Police, to the national Not Invisible Act Commission. The new U.S. Department of Interior commission will combat the epidemic of missing persons, murder, and trafficking of indigenous people and make recommendations to improve intergovernmental coordination and establish best practices for law enforcement to offer resources to survivors and families of victims.

“I am thrilled that Jolene, a proud Michigander and dedicated public servant with the Michigan State Police, has been appointed to the national Not Invisible Act Commission,” said Governor Whitmer. “The work of the commission is critical to tackling the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people. Jolene will bring her extensive experience collaborating with local, state, and federal law enforcement to find and recover missing children to her new role on the commission.”

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, but a lack of urgency, transparency and coordination have hampered our country’s efforts to combat violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “As we work with the Department of Justice to prioritize the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, the Not Invisible Act Commission will help address its underlying roots by ensuring the voices of those impacted by violence against Native people are included in our quest to implement solutions.”

“I am immensely honored and grateful to have been chosen for this critically important work to benefit our Native Americans,” said Jolene Hardesty of the Michigan State Police Missing Children’s Clearinghouse. “Networking and coordination are critical tools needed to aid in successfully finding and recovering missing children and crime victims, especially on tribal lands. I look forward to working with new partners throughout our state, the nation, and internationally to help address this issue.”

“Jolene’s appointment to the Not Invisible Act Commission will make a real difference for indigenous communities in Michigan and across the country,” said Whitney Gravelle, President of the Bay Mills Indian Community. “I am grateful to Secretary Deb Haaland for appointing Jolene and for her years of advocacy to protect indigenous women everywhere. Jolene carries critical expertise regarding AMBER alert notification systems and will be extremely valuable in the development of a national notification system for missing and murdered indigenous peoples. The commission, thanks to the experts like Jolene who serve on it, will offer tangible recommendations to improve intergovernmental coordination and save lives.”

Jolene Hardesty Background

Jolene has served as the Missing Children’s Clearinghouse Analyst with the Michigan State Police since 2017. She has been involved in law enforcement for 18 years and started her career as a police dispatcher. Eventually, she became a dispatcher for the MSP and was promoted to an analyst, working with the state’s Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN). Hardesty volunteered to help with the 2011 Missing in Michigan Day and developed a passion for missing children from that experience.

Not Invisible Commission

The Not Invisible Act Commission will make recommendations to the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice to improve intergovernmental coordination and establish best practices for state, Tribal, and federal law enforcement, to bolster resources for survivors and victim’s families, and to combat the epidemic of missing persons, murder, and trafficking of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people.

Among its mission, the Commission will:

  • Identify, report and respond to instances of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples (MMIP) cases and human trafficking.
  • Develop legislative and administrative changes necessary to use federal programs, properties, and resources to combat the crisis.
  • Track and report data on MMIP and human trafficking cases, consider issues related to the hiring and retention of law enforcement offices.
  • Coordinate Tribal-state-federal resources to combat MMIP and human trafficking offices on Indian lands.
  • Increase information sharing with Tribal governments on violent crimes investigations and other prosecutions on Indian lands.
  • The Commission has the authority to hold hearings, gather testimony, and receive additional evidence and feedback from its members to develop recommendations to the Secretary and Attorney General.

Source: Press Release