WASHINGTON — Senator Mark Warner on Wednesday sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting an in-person meeting to get the timeline for the full implementation of the Ashanti Alert system.
The Ashanti Alert legislation was signed into law in December of 2018.
The Ashanti Alert system is named after Ashanti Billie, the 19-year-old who was abducted in Norfolk, Va. on September 18, 2017. Her body was discovered in North Carolina 11 days after she was first reported missing.
Since she was 19, she did not meet the criteria for an Amber or Silver Alert – tools utilized by law enforcement that make it easier for the public to assist in locating a missing person.
The Ashanti Alert, like the other alert systems, would create a new national communication system to notify the public about missing or endangered adults through radio and television broadcast systems and assist law enforcement in the search.
In March, Sen. Warner wrote to Attorney General William Barr to request an update on the implementation of the alert system. In response to Sen. Warner’s letter, the DOJ indicated that little progress had been made on the implementation of the federal Ashanti Alert system, with only a program coordinator and internal working group members identified.
No timeline for full implementation was provided.
In April, Sen. Warner held a press conference with Del. Jay Jones and Ashanti Billie’s family urging the DOJ to move swiftly to implement the Ashanti Alert system.
In the letter sent on Wednesday, July 10, Sen. Warner slammed the DOJ for making little-to-no progress on the Ashanti Alert communication network seven months after it was signed into law.
View the full letter below: