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Washington, DC - U.S. Office of Personnel Management Inspector General Patrick E. McFarland has seen his hard work on behalf of the Inspectors General (IG) community pay off with the signing of the Emmitt Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-344) by President George W. Bush. One of the Act's provisions allows Inspectors General to make members of their staffs available to provide assistance to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (National Center).
"I am very pleased that on October 7, 2008, the President signed an Act that provides for the investigation of certain unsolved civil rights crimes," said McFarland. "It also gives the Inspectors General the authority to permit staff to work with the National Center in conducting reviews of inactive cases to develop recommendations for further investigations."
Because the National Center often doesn't have the resources needed to maintain prolonged investigative efforts on unresolved cases, the availability of skilled investigative personnel from the Inspector General community will help it address "cold cases." In the National Center's experience, many such cases can be resolved through the application of professional investigative techniques because witnesses who may have initially been reluctant to provide information often become willing to cooperate with authorities after the passage of time and because additional physical or forensic evidence may become available.
The concept behind this provision has its roots in the interest that members of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) and the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency (ECIE) have shown in the National Center's work. In particular, Mr. McFarland, along with Inspectors General Hubert Bell of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Martin Dickman of the Railroad Retirement Board, have worked since 2001 to inform and generate support in the IG community regarding the contributions that IG employees may make to the National Center's work. In addition, Mr. McFarland noted, "The National Fraternal Order of Police was instrumental in ultimately securing passage of the Act through their vigorous advocacy of the legislation with Congress."
"I believe that this Act represents a positive and unique opportunity for the PCIE and ECIE special agents to assist the National Center," said McFarland. "Based on the experience of former law enforcement officials who are now associated with the National Center, these efforts may bring tangible progress and hope to families whose children have been victimized. And, at the same time, the OIG agents who become involved in this social outreach effort will find their participation to be rewarding on both a profession and personal level."
Under the terms of the Act, there will be no additional cost to the government, and the participation of any Inspector General staff in assisting the National Center may not interfere with their ongoing official duties.
Mr. McFarland, along with Mr. Bell and Mr. Dickman, is coordinating with the National Center and the PCIE and ECIE to begin the implementation process for this important joint effort.
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