In 2015, Congress passed the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act, named in honor of two New York City police officers killed in an ambush attack on December 20, 2014. The Act establishes a voluntary nationwide system to give police an early warning of threats against police officers and to aid in the apprehension of suspects who have killed or seriously injured an officer. In 2016, the COPS Office was asked to implement the Blue Alert Act and establish a National Blue Alert Network.
Reason for Blue Alerts
Blue Alerts provide for rapid dissemination of information to law enforcement agencies, media, and the public about violent offenders who have killed, seriously injured, or pose an imminent and credible threat to law enforcement. Blue Alerts can be transmitted via wireless devices and through the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The National Blue Alert Network works to encourage, enhance, and integrate Blue Alert plans throughout the United States.
Blue Alert Activation Criteria
(RSMo 650.520) A Blue Alert is authorized when:
- a law enforcement officer is killed or seriously injured in the line of duty; or
- an officer is missing in connection with official duties; or
- there is an imminent and credible threat to kill or seriously injure a law enforcement officer; and
- there is actionable information known about a suspect for a public notification to be helpful to law enforcement; and
- the law enforcement agency involved requests or approves the alert being issued
Procedures For Agencies To Initiate A Blue Alert
The local law enforcement agency will fill out the Missouri Blue Alert Form.
Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax (573-751-6814) the Blue Alert form with the attachments such as photographs, area maps, etc. to the Missouri State Highway Patrol; Troop F Headquarters. Email is the preferred method to receive the forms.
Contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol; Troop F Headquarters at (573)-751-1000 to verify the emailed or faxed forms and attachments have been received.
The local agency should also fill out the AMBER Alert request form in MULES 5 (type AMBER in the command line). This form sends a message via MULES to Troop F Communications to notify them of the pending AMBER Alert request. If the agency needs assistance filling out the AMBER form, Troop F Communications can assist the agency.
Make sure dispatchers or call takers are prepared to handle phone calls. Consider allocating additional resources from other law enforcement agencies.
A public information officer (PIO) should be appointed to handle the media. Once the alert has been activated, media coverage may be overwhelming, especially for a small department. The PIO should be constantly updated to utilize the media as much as possible and receive the maximum exposure for the case.
The Blue Alert does not preclude any in-house procedures, policies, or practices used by each law enforcement agency.
THE FOLLOWING WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE ALERT IS ACTIVATED
- All Missouri law enforcement agencies are notified through a MIAC email alert.
- Broadcasters and media are notified.
- The public will receive a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) message on their cell phone.
- The Missouri Department of Transportation will be notified to activate message signs, if practicable.
- The Missouri Lottery will be notified to activate message signs, if practicable.
- The Missouri State Highway Patrol local Troop Headquarters can provide additional resources if requested.
- The Missouri State Highway Patrol Public Information and Education Division can provide a PIO to help your agency.
- The Missouri Information Analysis Center (573-751-6422) can be contacted to provide information that can assist with the investigation.
Canceling The Blue Alert
Mark the Blue Alert form with "Cancellation" and provide a brief description of the cancellation details in the "Brief Circumstances" box. Email (email@example.com) or fax (573-751-6814) the form to the Missouri State Highway Patrol; Troop F Headquarters. The agency must also call the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Troop F Headquarters at 573-751-1000 to verify the form was received.