President Obama this week signed into law a new national alert system to help apprehend violent criminals who pose a proven or credible threat to law enforcement.
“What this legislation is going to do is to initiate a Blue Alert System so that when we know there is an active threat against law enforcement, that the alerts are going out at a comprehensive and expeditious way. That prevents the possibility that other officers may be caught by surprise, and it ensures that appropriate steps can be taken as quickly as possible,” Obama said in remarks in the Oval Office during the bill’s signing on May 19.
The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015 was named for New York City Police Department officers who were slain while sitting in their police patrol car in Brooklyn. Their assailant made believable threats to law enforcement on social media, then followed up on those warnings by travelling from Maryland to New York City to assassinate the officers.
The president thanked congressional lawmakers for their bipartisan effort in passing the measure and the family of the fallen officers for their dedication.
“I want to again thank the members of Congress who have come together to put this legislation in place,” he said. “Most of all, I want to thank the families who obviously are still grieving from a terrible tragedy but have worked hard to make sure that it is translated into something concrete.”
The measure, authored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., is patterned after the Amber Alert System and centralizes a patchwork of state alert systems. It establishes a framework to issue nationwide Blue Alerts in the event of an attack on a law enforcement officer leading to his / her death or serious injury, when an officer goes missing in the line of duty and when an agency confirms that a credible and imminent threat exists against its officers.
The Blue Alert system would be administered by a member of the Department of Justice.
“Enactment of the National Blue Alert law is an important part of efforts to protect the men and women at all levels of law enforcement who put their lives on the line daily to keep our communities safe. We value their daily courage and sacrifice,” said Sen. Cardin in a statement. “I would like to thank the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and the many others who fought by our side to make sure this life-saving legislation made it to the President’s desk.
“My hope is that law enforcement officers and their families can take comfort in knowing that with the enactment of the National Blue Alert, the infrastructure soon will be in place for all Americans to play an active role in keeping them – and neighborhoods nationwide – safe from harm.”