Texas lawmakers have introduced a bill that they hope will help track down missing persons and track down their loved ones.
The bill, which has not yet been formally introduced, would make identifying and tracking missing persons more easily accessible to law enforcement officers.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors.
Texas is home to the largest concentration of missing people in the U.S., with more than 1,000 missing people registered for the state, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The AP identified several other states that have similar legislation on the books.
The bill, SB 1052, by State Sen. John Whitmire, R-El Paso, calls for the State Sheriffs’ Association to be an advisory body to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.
It would also provide the State Police a task force to develop standards and guidelines for law-enforcement officers on how to handle missing persons.
The task force would include members from both state and local law enforcement agencies, including police chiefs, sheriffs, deputies and police academies, according the bill.
The task force is also tasked with researching ways to better educate police on how they can assist missing persons with finding their loved one.
It is unclear how many law enforcement and social service agencies would be involved in the task force.
The legislation has not been made public, so it is unclear if it is related to the recent investigation into a Texas church where the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the Rev-Paul Farmer and other church members were found dead, according a news release from Whitmire’s office.
A spokeswoman for the Texas State Sheriff’s Association said it has been working with the Texas commission on law enforcement standards and will continue to work closely with the task forces.
In June, Texas lawmakers passed a law allowing the state to use federal grant money to assist local law-and-order departments with finding missing persons in the wake of the investigation into the Texas church.
The law also allows for the use of money from the state’s Emergency Assistance Fund to pay for missing persons investigations.
A spokesman for the Dallas Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new bill.