May 19, 2015

Cardin Bill Creating a National Blue Alert System Signed into Law by President Obama

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today joined President Barack Obama at the White House as the president signed into law S. 665, The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015, which Senator Cardin authored. Patterned after the highly effective Amber Alert System, the legislation creates a nationwide alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have threatened, injured or killed law enforcement officers. The legislation is named for New York City Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu who were assassinated while sitting in their police patrol car in Brooklyn. The individual who killed them had made credible threats to law enforcement posted on social media, before travelling from Maryland to New York City to assassinate the officers.  In such instances, the rapid dissemination of important critical, time-sensitive information about suspected criminals is essential to keeping our officers and communities safe.

 

“Enactment of the National Blue Alert law is an important part of efforts to protect the men and women at all levels of law enforcement who put their lives on the line daily to keep our communities safe. We value their daily courage and sacrifice,” said Senator Cardin. “I would like to thank the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and the many others who fought by our side to make sure this life-saving legislation made it to the President’s desk.

 

“My hope is that law enforcement officers and their families can take comfort in knowing that with the enactment of the National Blue Alert, the infrastructure soon will be in place for all Americans to play an active role in keeping them – and neighborhoods nationwide -- safe from harm. Seamless integration across the broadest audiences can expedite the capture of suspects and reduce the risk of additional victims.”

 

Last Friday, Senator Cardin traveled to Cumberland, Md. {Photos for download} during National Police week to celebrate today’s signing of the Blue Alert Act. Cumberland is in the “Four State Region”, where a suspect could cross the borders between Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Virginia in an hour or less. Prior to today’s signing, there was no federal system to coordinate state efforts to apprehend violent criminals who have injured, killed or made credible threats against law enforcement officers. In 2008, Florida became the first state to enact such a system. The State of Maryland created a Blue Alert system in 2010 after the murder of Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown. Blue Alert programs have been created in 22 states to date, with a growing number of states considering establishing Blue Alert programs. Locally, Maryland and Virginia have state Blue Alert systems, but neighboring Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia do not.

 

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