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Blue Alert program gaining momentum

Ohio may be the next state to employ a Blue Alert warning system. The state recently issued legislation SB258 to create a Blue Alert program and is awaiting passage by the Senate. The bill has already received support from Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine.


Blue Alerts function similar to Amber Alerts, which use broadcast alert systems to notify the public of missing or exploited children. Blue Alerts use the same concept by disseminating information to the public about suspects who have seriously injured or killed law enforcement officers. The alerts activate digital roadside signs, use media broadcasts and deliver notifications to other law enforcement officials or agencies.


Blue Alerts are a cooperative effort between state departments of public safety and transportation, the Governors’ Division of Emergency Management, broadcasters, law enforcement agencies, and the general public. The alert includes information regarding the description of the offender, offender’s vehicle, and their license plate. It is aimed at increasing arrests and reducing offenders fleeing the scene of the crime unnoticed.


Thirteen states employ Blue Alert systems: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Along with Ohio, several more states have been making progress in establishing legislation, such as New York, where state representatives introduced a bill to the House earlier this year.


Emergency responders feel these statewide alerts are necessary because those who attack law enforcement officials also pose an imminent threat to the public. Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) issued a national campaign to implement Blue Alerts across the country. As of now, there is not a national alert system in place, but U.S. Senator Cardin of Maryland has proposed a National Blue Alert Act to create a nationwide program under the Department of Justice for apprehending violent criminals.


Analyst’s Take:


Vendors should research states already using Blue Alerts to determine what has made them successful and cost-effective. As Blue Alerts function very similar to Amber Alerts, further research into these systems may help determine which technologies have worked in the past and what needs to be improved for the future. Vendors can then tailor their proposed technologies to these specifications. In addition, staying atop current legislation is beneficial in determining how these programs will be funded at the state level and what assistance may be needed. Vendors should determine which states currently have legislation in place and which states want to expand their current system.


A nationwide program for integrating Blue Alerts is already pending, and vendors may want to determine ways to develop new technologies for improving the communication of these alerts before they reach the national level. One way to do so is to look into additional ways of disseminating the alert information to the public, such as a mobile application that sends alerts within a local area.





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