Call to Action: National Blue Alert

On September 8, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported The National Blue Alert Act of 2011, (S. 657) out of committee to be placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar (Calendar No. 160). During the committee mark-up, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offered an amendment on behalf of the Sponsors: Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC). This amendment is a favorable improvement for rank-and-file as it improves the bill in several ways.

First, it defines the definition of a law enforcement officer to be consistent with that used in the Public Safety Officers’ Death Benefits Act. Secondly, the amendment clarifies that the Blue Alert Coordinator should provide assistance to States and local governments that are currently using Blue Alert plans. Next, and perhaps the most prominent change affecting NAPO is the addition of a representative from a law enforcement organization representing rank-and-file officers to the advisory group.  Finally, the role of the Blue Alert Coordinator is more clearly defined.

This morning, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) asked unanimous consent that the Senate passes S. 657 (Calendar No. 160). It is important that Senate Republicans do not object to this request. Even though the National Blue Alert was reported out of committee with bipartisan support of fourteen votes, four Republican Senators voted against passage; Senators Tom Coburn, (R-OK), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Michael Lee (R-UT) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

NAPO’s call to action: Please reach out to your Republican Senator and/or the Senator’s offices listed above to let them know how important this legislation is to law enforcement and for them not to object to the bill. It is also important to note the cost of this bill does not authorize any new spending. The $10 million to fund the National Blue Alert will come from funds already allocated to the COPS Office (via COPS Technology Grant).

Provided is a link to Senate offices, please give the offices a call and fax the attached letter.

NAPO is a strong and active supporter of the Blue Alert System. By creating a nationwide system that responds to criminal action against law enforcement officers we will ensure the safety of the officers and the public.  Please visit NAPO’s website for our public letter of support of this program.

CLICK BELOW FOR NAPO’S NATIONAL BLUE ALERT LETTER:

National Blue Alert Senate Letter 12.15.11

3/28/2011–Introduced: National Blue Alert Act of 2011 – Directs the Attorney General to: (1) establish a national Blue Alert communications network within the Department of Justice (DOJ) to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty; and (2) assign a DOJ officer to act as the national coordinator of the Blue Alert communications network. Sets forth the duties of the national coordinator, including encouraging states and local governments to develop additional Blue Alert plans, establishing voluntary guidelines for states and local governments to use in developing such plans, developing protocols for efforts to apprehend suspects, and establishing an advisory group to assist states, local governments, law enforcement agencies, and other entities in initiating, facilitating, and promoting Blue Alert plans. Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act to require the use of public safety and community policing grants to assist states in developing and enhancing a Blue Alert plan and communications network.

Please reach out to our senators via these links:

Link to Senators of the 112th Congress

Kyl, Jon – (R – AZ) Class I
730 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4521
Web Form: www.kyl.senate.gov/contact.cfm
McCain, John – (R – AZ) Class III
241 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2235
Web Form: www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact…