March 31, 2015

Cardin, Graham, Fraternal Order of Police Laud Judiciary Committee Passage of “National Blue Alert” Law

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joined the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in praising the Senate Judiciary Committee for quickly passing S. 665,  The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015. The newly introduced legislation would create a nationwide alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers, and also would initiate alerts when imminent or credible threats of harm are made against law enforcement officers. Modeled after the successful Amber Alerts, this legislation is strongly supported by the National Association of Police Organizations, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, in addition to the FOP. Last week’s action by the Judiciary Committee sets the stage for the full Senate to begin to consider final passage of S.665.

 

“With ‘Blue Alert’ emerging from committee, the men and women who put their lives on the line daily to safeguard our communities are one step closer to being protected by a coordinated interstate rapid response network that allows citizens across the country to take an active role in protecting their communities,” said Senator Cardin. “I’m proud to join law enforcement nationwide and colleagues from both the Senate and the House in calling for the final passage of this important public safety legislation.”

 

“While almost half the states have implemented some form of a Blue Alert system, there is currently no national Blue Alert system to coordinate alerts across multiple states. There also is not a federal official designated to coordinate the Blue Alert system and share best practices with the states,” said Senator Graham. “Our bipartisan legislation enhances and integrates the Blue Alert plan throughout the United States.  It will help rapidly disseminate information and notify law enforcement, media, and the public about dangerous criminal suspects.  I hope it can soon be passed into law.”

 

"Make no mistake-­law enforcement officers in uniforms are targets of those who want to make a headline by killing a cop,” said FOP National President Chuck Canterbury. “ Officers Ramos and Liu were two of nine officers killed from ambush last year and the recent attempted murder of two police officers in Ferguson is a stark reminder of the danger these brave officers are in on every shift."

 

Blue Alerts can be issued in the event of:

 

  • an attack on a law enforcement officers leading to his / her death or serious injury
  • a conclusion a law enforcement office is missing in the line of duty
  • a confirmation by a law enforcement agency that an imminent and credible threat exists to kill or seriously injure one of its officers

 

The legislation would assign an existing DOJ officer to act as the national coordinator of the Blue Alert communications network. This coordinator will:

 

  • Provide assistance to state and local governments that are using Blue Alert plans
  • Establish voluntary guidelines for states and local governments to use in developing such plans
  • Develop protocols for efforts to apprehend suspects, including the use of public safety communications and command center operations
  • Work with states to ensure appropriate regional coordination of the network
  • Establish an advisory group to assist all entities involved in the network with the facilitation, promotion, and implementation of Blue Alert plans
  • Act as the nationwide point of contact for the development of the network and the regional coordination of Blue Alerts through the network
  • Determine what procedures and practices are in use for notifying law enforcement and the public of Blue Alerts, and which of the procedures and practices are effective and do not require the expenditure of additional resources to implement
  • Establish guidelines that provide mechanisms to ensure that Blue Alerts comply with all applicable privacy laws and regulations
  • Direct the Coordinator to submit an annual report to Congress on the Coordinator's activities and the effectiveness and status of the Blue Alert plans that are in effect or being developed

 

 

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