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October 25, 2012

Florida: Blue Alert Serves as Model for National Legislation

by silveralertbill

The Blue Alert for injured law enforcement officers, a program begun in Florida and modeled after Silver Alert, is now the subject of federal legislation in the United States Congress.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Florida pioneered the Blue Alert system in 2008, when Gov. Charlie Crist signed an executive order permitting authorities to use technology such as text alerts, email and highway signs to broadcast suspect information in these serious cases. That executive order became state law last year.

Since Florida adopted the Blue Alert system, 16 other states have followed suit — including Texas, Maryland and Colorado, which have some of the highest numbers of law-enforcement fatalities on record, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The National Blue Alert Act of 2011 passed the House of Representatives and has been placed on the Senate calendar for a vote later this year.

“If a person is willing to shoot a cop, they are willing to kill any civilian, and we are trying to get them off the streets,” said Berry of Venice, who is the founder of the Blue Alert Foundation. A disabled Army veteran, Berry said he was bored and looking for a higher calling than watching Oprah every day when he heard about the system in 2008.

Before a bill was sent to Congress, Berry devised the first national notification system through a website, BlueAlert.us, where the public can sign up for updates through text, email or other media.

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