Rep. Grimm’s National Blue Alert Act Passes House

May 15, 2013 Issues: Defense and National Security

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s (R,C-NY) legislation, the National Blue Alert Blue Alert Act (H.R. 180) passed the House 406-2.  This bipartisan bill would encourage and integrate a “Blue Alert” system throughout the United States in order to quickly disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.

“As a former FBI special agent, it is a privilege to have the House pass this important legislation, especially during Police Week,” said Rep. Grimm. “Every week should be Police Week, as we express our gratitude to the brave men and women of the NYPD who serve our great city under Commissioner Ray Kelly, and to all our nation’s law enforcement officers and agents.  The National Blue Alert Act will enhance the safety of our communities, by allowing us to act quickly in apprehending suspects and make it clear to anyone who chooses to harm our nation’s law enforcement officers that they will be caught. Our law enforcement agents are the true heroes of our communities, and I applaud my colleagues for passing this important bill to protect them.”

The Blue Alert system would work in a similar fashion to the “Amber Alert” system currently used to locate abducted children. It would be implemented by law enforcement agencies, and state and local governments to speed up the apprehension of criminals who seriously injure or kill local, state, or federal law enforcement officers.

Currently, there is no national alert system to disseminate information to other law enforcement, the media, or the general public in regards to officers who have been injured or killed; however, many states have created a state-level blue alert system in an effort to better inform their local communities.  
 
H.R. 180 creates the national Blue Alert Program within the Department of Justice. Each year Congress authorizes funds under the COPS Technology Program, for technology and automated systems that help state and local law enforcement agencies prevent, respond to, and investigate crime.  It directs the Department of Justice to designate a national coordinator for the program who will encourage states to develop Blue Alert plans, establish voluntary guidelines, and develop protocols for suspect apprehension.   

Rep. Grimm is a former FBI agent. The bill was introduced with Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), David Reichert (R-WA), and Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) who is a former Attorney General of Puerto Rico.

The National Blue Alert Act has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, the National Sheriff's Association, the National Association of Police Officers, & the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA).