Three Cabinet-level agencies have announced the creation of the National Blue Alert Network, a nationwide communications system designed to expediently distribute information on potentially threatening situations for law enforcement officers.
The overall aim of the network is “to establish enhanced communications systems, guidelines and resources,” for police officers across the country, according to a statement released Friday by the Department of Justice. The DOJ will work in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Homeland Security on the network.
Operationally similarly to AMBER Alerts, Blue Alerts will quickly spread information to law enforcement, media outlets and the public on the possible whereabouts, physical descriptions, vehicle information and other characteristics of people suspected of assailing law enforcement.
The messages can be communicated via television, radio, cellular and other wireless devices, and 27 states already have blue alert plans in place to support law enforcement safety. Additionally, the National Blue Alert Network will also preserve a secure data repository for law enforcement only that will allow access to a wealth of resources, including legislation, policies, forms and a state-by-state record of Blue Alert officials.
Implementation of the network will be overseen by Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, office within the DOJ. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies will also partner with the COPS Office in supporting the network.
The network will “provide this country with the necessary framework for rapid response to help save lives and apprehend criminals who would attack those who bravely protect public safety,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio.
The announcement of the National Blue Alert Network comes during National Police Week, a week dedicated to honoring America’s law enforcement. The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act, the legislation behind the national network, was signed into law in May 2015 after two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were ambushed in December 2014.