U.S. Justice Department honors Overland Park’s Missey Smith for work on crime prevention policy

Missey Smith (second from left) received the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award on Friday. Photo courtesy Kelsey Smith Foundation.

Missey Smith, whose daughter Kelsey was abducted and murdered in 2007, was honored by the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime on Friday for her work to change state laws to allow law enforcement to use cell phone data from missing persons to help establish their whereabouts.

In a ceremony Friday in Washington, D.C., Smith received the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award for her work. The Kelsey Smith Act championed by parents Missey and Greg Smith gives law enforcement an expedited path to access location data from a cellular device when police have determined that its owner may be at risk of death or serious physical harm.

First passed in Kansas in 2009, versions of the bill have now been signed into law in 24 states. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Ron Estes have introduced federal versions of the bill in their respective chambers this year.

Roberts took the occasion of the award to recognize Missey for her drive to improve public policy in hopes of preventing future tragedies.

“Despite great personal tragedy, Missey has devoted her life to honoring the memory of
her daughter Kelsey by promoting public policy that has saved lives,” Roberts said in a statement. “It has been my honor and privilege to help her fight toward passage of the Kelsey Smith Act at the federal level. With her advocacy, we will get this done and we will make every American safer as a result.”

The Smiths continue to educate people across the country about crime prevention efforts and safety strategies through their organization Kelsey’s Army. Greg, a former state senator, recently gave a training presentation at Johnson County Community College.