WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has introduced the National Blue Alert Act, S. 357, to create a nationwide alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have seriously 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.
In June 2010, Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown was murdered outside a restaurant 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 a total of 18 states have created similar alerts programs.
“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 seriously injured or killed law enforcement 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.
“We are very pleased that this legislation was introduced by Senators Cardin and Graham,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “Law enforcement officers are in harm's way each and every hour of their shift. This Blue Alert legislation provides law enforcement and the public with the tools needed for the expeditious apprehension of our most dangerous assailants -- those who attack a law enforcement officer. This bill is necessary to protect law enforcement officers who patrol our communities every day.”
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.
Senator Cardin introduced similar legislation in the 111th and 112th Congresses. Senate co-sponsors of the National Blue Alert Act include U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) .