Each year, the U.S. Department of Justice recognizes individuals, organizations, and agencies for their extraordinary efforts to find missing children, protect children from harm, and bring perpetrators to justice.
"Every day, law enforcement professionals, advocates, and citizens alike step up to protect children from harm, reunite missing children with their families, and provide support in the aftermath of a traumatic event," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "Today, the Justice Department is proud to honor some of these heroes and recognize them for their tireless work to create a safer and better world."
Read more about the individuals being honored for the 39th annual National Missing Children's Day.
Attorney General's Special Commendation: This commendation recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an Internet Crimes Against Children task force, an affiliate agency or an individual assigned to either for making a significant investigative or program contribution to the ICAC task force program.
Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children task force members Special Agent Theodore Indermuehle, Special Agent Wade Beardsley, Senior Digital Forensic Examiner Tyrel Olsen, Victim Services Specialist Leeana Liska, and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin Elizabeth Altman received the commendation for their investigation of child sexual exploitation and prosecution of a child pornographer. Read the news release.
Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award: This award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of law enforcement officers who have made a significant investigative or program contribution to the safety of children.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Special Agents Maria Markley, Star'Shemah Sylvestre, Kelli Johnson, Lisa Carroll and Brandy Nettles participated in two significant NCIS initiatives over the past year, Operation Stolen Innocence and a cyber operation targeting Department of the Navy offenders. These included building a complex computer program to collect and analyze data from multiple sources. Read the news release.
Missing Children's Child Protection Award: This award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of child protective service agency personnel, law enforcement officers or other professionals who have made a significant investigative or program contribution to protecting children from abuse or victimization.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation members Assistant Special Agent in Charge Shelly Smitherman and Intelligence Analyst Emily Keifer members were honored for their involvement in the recovery of 150 missing children in the state. Read the news release.