Friday, February 27, 2015

Minnesota - Blue alert could help track down police attackers

Blue alert could help track down police attackers | Capitol Chatter

Legislation is moving ahead to establish a Minnesota alert system that would be activated when a law enforcement officer has been killed or seriously wounded.

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said a so-called blue alert program would help find suspects quicker because information about police attackers could be sent statewide immediately.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee Wednesday approved Ingebrigtsen’s blue alert bill unanimously, sending it on to other committees that need to consider it. A similar bill is progressing through the House.

Janell Rasmussen of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said a blue alert would be handled much like amber alerts, which notify the public about missing children.

“We can notify the entire state of Minnesota when it comes through that system in a matter of 60 seconds or less,” Rasmussen said.

Notices would go to law enforcement authorities, the media and businesses that subscribe to the service.

Ingebrigtsen, who worked in law enforcement for 34 years, said quickly finding suspects would help law enforcement families reach a level of peace. He told the committee that a partner of his died on duty six months after Ingebrigtsen took part in his wedding, so he said that he understands the issue.

Twenty-One states have blue alert laws.

Legislative discussion on the bill follows last year’s shooting of Twin Cities suburban police officer Scott Patrick.

Rep. Dan Schoen, a Cottage Grove policeman, said at an earlier House hearing that people who attack police officers usually know they are headed to jail, so they are dangerous to leave on the streets.

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