Reichert, Pascrell Introduce Bill to Create National Blue Alert System

Washington, D.C – Today, U.S. Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, introduced the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015 (H.R. 1269) to establish a National Blue Alert system to help apprehend criminals who have seriously injured, killed, captured, or made imminent and credible threats of serious injury or death towards police officers. While multiple states employ such systems, there is currently no coordination or system at the national level.

This bill recognizes the tragic murders and sacrifice of NYPD officer Ramos and Liu who were killed just before Christmas while on duty, sitting in their squad car in Brooklyn, NY. Officer Ramos was a father of two and had been with the NYPD for two years. Officer Liu had been with the force for seven years and had recently married. No actions of their own had provoked the December attack that took their lives. In such instances, the rapid dissemination of critical, time-sensitive information about suspected criminals who are planning an imminent attack on police officers is essential to keeping our communities safe and may have prevented the assassination of Officers Ramos and Liu.

Rep. Reichert said, “Creating a National Blue Alert system is an important step towards providing the same protection for our men and women in law enforcement that they give to their communities each and every day.  It can help prevent tragedy and keep our communities and loved ones safe. When criminals take action against law enforcement officers, everything in our power should be done to ensure their speedy apprehension and prevent further loss. Quickly disseminating information to ordinary citizens and public safety officers will empower communities and add to the tools at the disposal of law enforcement for keeping America safe.”

“Our brave first responders put their lives on the line each and every day, so it’s our responsibility to make sure they have every resource at their disposal to ensure their safety,” stated Rep. Pascrell.  “This legislation takes the critical step of creating a much-needed nationwide alert system that will allow proper coordination across multiple states.  When a police officer is injured or killed in the line of duty, we owe it to their families and colleagues to do everything possible to apprehend the individual responsible.”

The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015 has the full support of multiple Law Enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.  Based on the success of the AMBER and SILVER Alert systems, it directs the Attorney General assign an existing DOJ officer to act as the national coordinator responsible for creating voluntary guidelines to assist states in developing Blue Alert plans.  These state Blue Alert plans will disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is killed or injured in the line of duty, as well as when there are active threats against police officers. While over 20 states have already developed Blue Alert systems, criminals do not respect borders, and to this end the Act encourages more states to establish such plans so they can quickly communicate and share information with each other and the public about potentially dangerous offenders on the run.