- By Native News Online Staff
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Department of Justice has hired a new Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) coordinator to cover the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan.
The U.S. Attorneys for the Western and Eastern Districts of the state announced July 2 that they appointed veteran FBI agent Joel Postma to the post.
Postma is one of 10 MMIP coordinators nationwide appointed by the DOJ to investigate cases involving missing and murdered Native Americans.
During his career with the FBI, Postma spent several years investigating cases involving missing children and runaways and participated in death investigations in Indian County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Postma also served on the Tribal Multi-disciplinary Team and Child Protection Team, as well as established procedures to investigate drug crimes in Indian County.
To improve the relationship between the FBI and tribal law enforcement, Postma also created a ride-along program that helped increase familiarity among the various agencies.
“Tribal communities have long suffered disproportionate violent crime and now the MMIP challenges in particular have caught the attention of the Department,” Andrew Birge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, said in a statement.
Birge called Postma “eminently qualified to help respond to the challenges” and noted that tribal law enforcement agencies recommended that he be appointed to the position.
In the new position, Postma is charged with identifying MMIP cases in Michigan, reaching out to tribal communities and coordinating various law enforcement efforts to respond to and address MMIP. That also includes improving data collection and analysis around MMIP across the state.
Postma is a graduate of the criminal justice program at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The MMIP coordinator position is part of a national effort the Department of Justice announced in November 2019 to address cases of missing and murdered Native Amiercans. The department committed $1.5 million to hire MMIP coordinators to work with U.S. Attorney Offices spanning 11 states.
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