Coming (Hopefully) to a State Near You: The Blue Alert Network

Ask most people about an Amber Alert and they know right away what you are talking about: an emergency alert system that enlists the help of the media and the public in finding missing children who have been abducted.

But a “Blue Alert?”

Thanks to forward-thinking leaders in two states, that concept might someday become just as well known in the hunt for criminals who kill or seriously injure law enforcement officers in the line of duty.

Following the lead of Florida, Texas Governor Rick Perry this week signed an executive order launching the Blue Alert network in the Lone Star State. The Governor’s Office said the program “will enable rapid, statewide distribution of information related to offenders who flee after killing or seriously injuring federal, state or local law enforcement officers in the line of duty.”

The program will rely on a range of communications vehicles, including electronic message boards on highways and media alerts. The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management are currently recruiting Blue Alert partners among public and commercial television and radio broadcasters; private commercial entities; local, state and federal government entities; and any others who can assist in spreading offenders’ information following an attack on a law enforcement officer.

The concept is so simple and straightforward it’s surprising it hasn’t been implemented sooner and more broadly. But now that two of the nation’s largest states are on board, let’s hope the Blue Alert system takes hold nationwide. Data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show that while officer fatalities (thankfully) are down sharply this year, a police officer still dies somewhere in America every three days or so. In those situations in which the offender flees, this type of system could be extremely valuable in quickly apprehending dangerous criminals who would harm our peace officers and the public.

Read Governor Perry’s announcement, and encourage your state leaders to get on board with Blue Alert.