Cardin, Fraternal Order of Police Discuss Urgent Need for Congress to Approve a National Blue Alert

 Nation’s largest organization of sworn officers joins senator in Anne Arundel County to advocate for new nationwide alert system

CROWNSVILLE, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today joined law enforcement officers from Anne Arundel County affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to discuss his recently introduced legislation to create a nationwide Blue Alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have threatened, injured or killed police officers. The legislation, The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015, is modeled after the successful Amber Alerts and named for the New York City police officers who lost their lives in a horrific December 2014 attack.

Senator Cardin’s bill, S. 665, which recently emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate, is strongly supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and many other organizations.

“’Blue Alert’ is bipartisan, bicameral legislation to protect law enforcement officers and the public alike. When a credible threat is made against an officer or an officer is injured, we owe it to law enforcement to help however we can,” said Senator Cardin. “A National Blue Alert system would ensure that citizens across the country can work in concert to help protect those who put their lives on the line to protect us. I’m proud to join law enforcement nationwide and colleagues from both the Senate and the House in calling for the passage, finally, of this important public safety law.”

“Make no mistake-­law enforcement officers in uniforms are targets of those who want to make a headline by killing a cop,” said FOP National President Chuck Canterbury. “ Officers Ramos and Liu were two of nine officers killed from ambush last year and the recent attempted murder of two police officers in Ferguson is a stark reminder of the danger these brave officers are in on every shift.”

Blue Alerts can be issued in the event of:

·         an attack on a law enforcement officers leading to his / her death or serious injury

·         a conclusion a law enforcement office is missing in the line of duty

·         a confirmation by a law enforcement agency that an imminent and credible threat exists to kill or seriously injure one of its officers

The legislation would assign an existing DOJ officer to act as the national coordinator of the Blue Alert communications network. This coordinator will:

·         Provide assistance to state and local governments that are using Blue Alert plans

·         Establish voluntary guidelines for states and local governments to use in developing such plans

·         Develop protocols for efforts to apprehend suspects, including the use of public safety communications and command center operations

·         Work with states to ensure appropriate regional coordination of the network

·         Establish an advisory group to assist all entities involved in the network with the facilitation, promotion, and implementation of Blue Alert plans

·         Act as the nationwide point of contact for the development of the network and the regional coordination of Blue Alerts through the network

·         Determine what procedures and practices are in use for notifying law enforcement and the public of Blue Alerts, and which of the procedures and practices are effective and do not require the expenditure of additional resources to implement

·         Establish guidelines that provide mechanisms to ensure that Blue Alerts comply with all applicable privacy laws and regulations

·         Direct the Coordinator to submit an annual report to Congress on the Coordinator’s activities and the effectiveness and status of the Blue Alert plans that are in effect or being developed