Friday, May 19, 2017

Justice Department Announces the National Blue Alert Network

The Justice Department, along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), today announced the nationwide rollout of the National Blue Alert Network, including newly developed deliverables and federal interagency cooperation to enhance the safety and support of America’s law enforcement officers. Under implementation by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), the National Blue Alert Network promotes rapid dissemination of information to law enforcement, the media and the public about violent offenders who have killed, seriously injured or pose an imminent threat to law enforcement, or when an officer is missing in connection with official duties.

Named in honor of two fallen New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers who were ambushed in December 2014, the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act was signed into law in May 2015. The COPS Office was selected to implement the Act in September 2016 and has partnered with other federal agencies, including the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to establish enhanced communications systems, guidelines and resources.

“This network provides the means of quickly identifying, pursuing and capturing violent offenders who have hurt, killed or pose an imminent danger to law enforcement,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “This National Police Week, we are proud to show our support for our nation’s brave police officers, and to work with our federal partners to keep them safe.”

“The men and women of law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect and serve the public,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “The Department of Justice is committed to supporting law enforcement, and the National Blue Alert 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.”

Blue Alerts are operationally similar to AMBER Alerts and can be broadcast on television, radio, and sent to cellphones and other wireless devices. Like AMBER Alerts, which are designed to quickly provide information about missing children to the public, Blue Alerts provide details about possible assailants, including physical descriptions, vehicle information and other identifying characteristics.

At present, there are 27 states with Blue Alert plans; however, this coordinated framework will help facilitate and streamline the adoption of new Blue Alert plans throughout the nation and help integrate existing plans. To learn more about the National Blue Alert Network, visit

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide and has a long history of supporting officer safety and wellness. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 129,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance. For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit

New Hampshire Man Sentenced to Over 10 Years for Home Invasion Robbery

Portland, Maine: Acting United States Attorney Richard W. Murphy announced that Xavier Watson, 24, of Brentwood, New Hampshire, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Judge Jon D. Levy to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release following convictions for robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Watson pleaded guilty to the charges on October 5, 2016.

According to court records, early on January 15, 2016, Watson and four other men drove from New Hampshire to Lyman, Maine, for the purpose of committing a home invasion robbery of a licensed medical marijuana caregiver. Watson and three of the men broke into the home, brandishing two firearms – a pistol and a shotgun. Watson possessed the pistol and co-defendant Vincent Casazza possessed the shotgun. Five victims were present in the residence. Watson physically assaulted a male victim. Records introduced by the government at sentencing indicate that Watson also sexually assaulted a 17-year-old female victim during the robbery. Watson and his co-conspirators stole three firearms from the residence, as well as U.S. currency, marijuana, various electronics, and other items of value.

Watson’s co-defendants, Vincent Casazza, Reynan Mora, and Andre Thomas, have pleaded guilty in federal court to their involvement in the robbery but have not yet been sentenced.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Maine State Police, with assistance from the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the York County District Attorney’s Office.

ATF, Firearms Industry Offer Reward in Kansas City, MO Firearms Theft

Kansas City- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry – announced a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft of firearms from Smart Pawn, a Federal Firearms Licensee in Kansas City, Missouri.

ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000, which will be matched by the NSSF for a total possible reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

In the early morning hours of Saturday May 13, 2017, unknown suspects forced entry into Smart Pawn, located at 6301 Troost, stealing several firearms. ATF, working with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department is investigating the incident.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867), email (link sends e-mail), contact ATF through its website at or text 63975 using the code ATFKC. Tips can also be submitted using the Reportit® app, available from both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting (link is external). Tipsters can remain anonymous.

This reward is part of a larger national cooperative initiative between the NSSF and ATF in which the NSSF matches ATF rewards in cases involving the theft of firearms from federally licensed retailers. ATF works closely with the members of the firearms industry to curb the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms.