Rockville, MD – In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) toured the new Rockville City Police Station today and urged the passage of a national Blue Alert System. Senator Cardin was joined in Rockville by Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, Rockville Police Chief Terry Treschuk, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, and Captain James DeWees, who is the Washington-Metro Troop Commander for the Maryland State Police.
Based on the success of the Amber Alerts for missing children and Silver Alerts for missing seniors, The National Blue Alert Act of 2013 (S. 357) would create a nationwide system that would be used to disseminate critical information to law enforcement agencies, the public and the media to help apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 72 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2011. Tens of thousands of law enforcement officers are assaulted every year, and many sustain serious injuries as a result of the attack.
“During this National Police Week, we acknowledge the valor and sacrifice of those brave men and women who officers put their lives on the line every day to protect Marylanders and citizens nationwide. We thank them for making us and our communities safer,” Senator Cardin said. “I am proud that Maryland has been a leader in the use of the Blue Alert System. It works. We now need to expand this valuable tool put in place a national alert system that will ensure the speedy apprehension of violent criminals. Our public service officers go above and beyond to protect our communities, and in return, we need to go above and beyond for them.”
“We are pleased to host Senator Cardin here in Rockville. He has always been a friend to us, and we are honored that he chose the new Rockville police station to highlight this important piece of legislation” said Mayor Marcuccio.
“It’s an honor to have a senator who understands what the police in our community are facing each day. Having the latest technology and infrastructure helps us to do our jobs, which means we can accomplish our ultimate mission of keeping the public safe,” Chief Treschuk said.
In June 2010, Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown was murdered outside a restaurant in Forestville, MD. Shortly after, 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 a total of 18 states have created similar alerts programs.
On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. In 2012, 127 federal, state and local officers killed in the line of duty. One fatality is one too many. Thousands of other law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties – some of whom now live with serious injuries.
The National Blue Alert Act of 2013 (S. 357) has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Concerns of Police Survivors, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department. During the 112th Congress, similar legislation passed the House of Representatives 394-1 and also was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The National Blue Alert Act of 2013 currently has 13 cosponsors including Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR).