The Montana Department of Justice announced in a press release on Monday that it has hired a Missing Persons Specialist and a LINC (Looping in Native Communities) Coordinator; both begin their new duties at the agency this week.
Former Glacier County Deputy Sheriff Misty LaPlant will be DOJ’s Missing Persons Specialist. This new position, which is under DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), will work with local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement on missing persons cases. The position was created when the 2019 Legislature passed House Bill 21, also known as Hanna’s Act.
LaPlant, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, has experience in investigating missing persons cases, and has served on a sexual assault response team and on DUI task forces. Prior to working for the Glacier County Sheriff’s Office, LaPlant was a police officer with Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services.
Tina Chamberlain of Helena will be the DOJ’s LINC Coordinator. This new position, also under DOJ’s DCI, was created by the 2019 passage of Senate Bill 312. Known as the Looping In Native Communities (LINC) Act, it created Montana’s Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force and a grant program for the creation of the Looping In Native Communities Network.
Chamberlain will administer the grant and help the task force find ways to track Montana’s missing indigenous persons. Chamberlain has extensive grant writing experience. In 2016, Chamberlain submitted DOJ’s successful application for a $2 million federal grant to help Montana track and test previously unsubmitted sex assault kits.
“I’m very pleased to announce the onboarding of our new Missing Persons Specialist and LINC Coordinator to help us address Montana’s missing indigenous persons issue,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Misty LaPlant and Tina Chamberlain are both remarkable professionals with a passion for serving the people of Montana, particularly those in Indian Country. I look forward to the good work they’ll do in conjunction with many other entities to improve Montana’s response in identifying, reporting, and locating our missing children and adults,” Fox added.