Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he has signed into law legislation establishing a Blue Alert System in Connecticut, which will notify the public when a law enforcement officer has been killed, seriously injured, or missing, and a suspect, considered an imminent threat, is at large.
"The Blue Alert System will be an effective tool for the safety of the public, particularly when it comes to notifying both residents and local law enforcement agencies with the urgent information they need to know should ever we face this unfortunate type of crisis," Governor Malloy said. "As we saw just last month in Massachusetts, public notification played a significant role in assisting law enforcement in apprehending a suspect who harmed a police officer and a number of others. This system will complement our existing Amber and Silver notifications and will put into practice a new, formal statewide communications system for this type of emergency."
Currently, at least 15 states have Blue Alert laws, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
"After last month's episode in Boston, in fact for several days following the tragic Patriot's Day bombing, we learned in real time how much help the public can provide in identifying and tracking suspected criminals," State Senator Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury), co-chair of the legislature's Public Safety and Security Committee, said. "This Blue Alert System will function the same way the state's existing Amber and Silver Alert systems do, helping locate missing persons. This new Blue Alert law provides an additional common sense tool to protect the well-being of public safety personnel."
"The new Blue Alert System will help protect our police officers statewide and in our own communities whenever they may be seriously in danger or even worse," State Representative Stephen Dargan (D-West Haven), the committee's other co-chair, said. "It enables the general public to help in the apprehension of someone who might cause arm to any of our police officers."
State Representative Henry Genga (D-East Hartford), who sponsored the legislation, said, "I'm very pleased Governor Malloy has embraced this important legislation. The East Hartford police officer who asked me to introduce this bill, and all law enforcement officers in Connecticut, as well as residents, will be safer as a result of this legislation. We are now utilizing new technologies that will improve public safety for all."
As required under the bill, the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will develop and implement policies and procedures for operating and administering the system. This includes procedures governing requests by law enforcement agencies to activate the system and guidelines to ensure that the dissemination of information does not compromise the investigation of the offense or disappearance, or violate the privacy of the law enforcement officer who is the subject of the alert or of the officer's next-of-kin.
The legislation is Public Act 13-24, An Act Concerning "Blue Alerts." It takes effect October 1, 2013.