MEDIA ADVISORY

TUESDAY: Cardin, Reichert, Graham and Pascrell Join Forces with NYPD and Local Law Enforcement to Urge Passage of a Nationwide Blue Alert System 

Momentum building for bicameral, bipartisan effort to create a national system to help apprehend criminals who seriously injure or kill law enforcement officers

On Tuesday, March 24 at 12:30PM, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert (R-Wash.-08) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.-09), will join with the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the National Association of Police Organizations and local law enforcement to urge passage of legislation to create a National Blue Alert system. The lawmakers are lead sponsors of legislation in both the Senate (S. 665) and House (H.R. 1269) that would create a nationwide alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers. Based on the success of the Amber Alerts for missing children, a nationwide Blue Alert system would be used to disseminate critical information to law enforcement agencies, the public and the media.

The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015 is named in honor of two New York City Police Officers who were assassinated while sitting in their police patrol car in December 2014. Similar legislation has been introduced in previous Congresses, passing the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee, with bipartisan support.

WHAT:            Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015

Press Conference

WHO:              Senator Ben Cardin

                        Senator Lindsey Graham

                        Representative Dave Reichert

                        Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr.

                        NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association

National Association of Police Organizations                    

Hagerstown (Md.) Police Chief Mark Holtzman

Gina Miller, fiancée of a Washington State Patrol officer killed in 2012

WHEN:            Tuesday, March 24 at 12:30PM

WHERE:           House Triangle, Outside the U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC 

Each day, more than 900,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe.  Tragically, sometimes the unthinkable happens and a police officer is seriously injured, killed, or goes missing in the line of duty.  In December 2014, New York City Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were assassinated while sitting in their police patrol car in Brooklyn.  In such instances, the rapid dissemination of important critical, time-sensitive information about suspected criminals is essential to keeping our communities safe.

In 2008, Florida was the first state to implement a Blue Alert System and since then a total of 20 states have created similar alerts programs, but there is no national coordination for this voluntary program. In June 2010, Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown was murdered outside a restaurant in Forestville, MD. Shortly after, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed an executive order creating the Maryland Blue Alert System.

Both the House and Senate legislation directs the Attorney General to establish a national Blue Alert communications network within the Justice Department to issue Blue Alerts through the initiation, facilitation, and promotion of Blue Alert plans at the federal, state, and local levels.

The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015 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, and many other organizations.