March 28, 2011

SENATOR CARDIN INTRODUCES “NATIONAL BLUE ALERT” BILL TO HELP APPREHEND CRIMINALS WHO INJURE OR KILL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

National Bill Is Modeled on Maryland “Blue Alert” System

UPPER MARLBORO, MD -- U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today announced the introduction of the National Blue Alert Act to create a nationwide alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers. The nationwide alert system would be used to disseminate critical information about the suspect to law enforcement agencies, the public and the media. 

Senator Cardin traveled to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89 in Prince George’s County to join with National and Maryland law enforcement officials for the announcement.  In June 2010, Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown was murdered outside an Applebee’s in Forestville, MD. At that time, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed an executive order creating the Maryland Blue Alert System.  In 2008, Florida was the first state to implement a Blue Alert System and since then Oklahoma, Texas, Maryland, Delaware, Alabama, Florida, California, Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia have all approved similar alerts.

“I am pleased that states like Maryland have taken the lead in creating a ‘Blue Alert’ system patterned after Amber Alerts, which has been used successfully to help apprehend child abductors,” said Senator Cardin.  “We now need to take it to the next level and put in place a national alert system that will ensure the speedy apprehension of violent criminals who have injured or killed law enforcement officers.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 48 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2009; over the past decade, an average of 53 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty each year.

“The ability to communicate quickly to as large an audience as possible is vital if we are to successfully identify, locate and apprehend a suspect wanted for the murder or serious injury of a law enforcement officer,” said Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Terrence B. Sheridan.  “The national Blue Alert program will improve our ability to rapidly disseminate important suspect information to our citizens and enlist their support in bringing those who harm our police officers to justice."

"Blue Alert is about officer safety, and we are pleased to have the leadership of Senators Cardin, Graham and Leahy. These Senators are real friends to law enforcement,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President, FOP.

Co-sponsors of the bill include U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Christopher Coons (D-DE).