For Immediate Release
CARDIN, MARYLAND LAW ENFORCEMENT UNITE IN CALL FOR FINAL
PASSAGE OF A NATIONAL BLUE ALERT SYSTEM
Hagerstown, MD – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), joined by Western Maryland and state law enforcement, made a public call for final Congressional action on the creation of a National Blue Alert System. The bill awaiting final Senate action is S. 357, the National Blue Alert Act of 2013. It 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. Maryland and Virginia both have Blue Alert programs in place. Pennsylvania and West Virginia currently do not.
“I want every law enforcement officer in Maryland and across the nation to know that we value their daily courage and sacrifice. If someone is brazen enough to attack one of our law enforcement officers, for the safety of other officers and the community at-large, we need every tool at our disposal to apprehend the individual responsible – even if they cross state lines. Seamless integration across the broadest audiences can reduce the risk of additional victims,” said Senator Cardin.
“The Western Maryland’s Four-State Region is an excellent example of how the National Blue Alert system would ensure a timely and coordinated notification to allied police agencies where a suspect can cross state lines within minutes of assaulting a police officer,” said Chief Mark Holtzman of the Hagerstown Police Department.
The National Blue Alert Act of 2013 (S. 357) has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Concerns of Police Survivors, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department.
In September, by a vote of 15 to 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee today passed the National Blue Alert Act. The House of Representatives passed identical legislation in May 2013 by a vote of 406 to 2. Introduced by Senator Cardin in February, the National Blue Alert Act of 2013currently has 20 cosponsors including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
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. In 2008, Florida was the first state to implement a Blue Alert System and since then a total of 18 states have created similar alerts programs.