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.
The founder of an alert system for endangered, missing or shot law enforcement has seemed to find some common political ground.
Tom Berry of Venice is the founder of Blue Alert, which is a system similar to the Amber Alert and Silver Alert systems, but sends out notices for law enforcement who are missing, endangered, seriously wounded or killed.
“We want to nationalize it so when they go across the borders, everybody’s going to know about what’s happening,” Berry told Patch.
Read the full article at Sarasota Patch.
In addition to Amber Alerts for missing children and Silver Alerts for missing seniors, many states are now considering Blue Alerts to inform the public when a fugitive criminal kills or injures a police officer.
According to a news story on WBTV-TV:
Now the South Carolina legislature wants speed up the message with a Blue Alert system. It’s the same concept as an Amber or Silver Alert for missing children or senior citizens.
The Blue Alert will provide the description and information of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure law enforcement officers and are on the run.
The Blue Alert System is in place in 13 states including Georgia. North Carolina is also looking into the Blue Alert system.