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 https://cops.usdoj.gov/bluealert.
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 www.cops.usdoj.gov.