TRENTON, NJ – A “Blue Alert System” to rapidly disseminate information facilitating the apprehension of persons suspected of killing or seriously injuring law enforcement officers will be operational in seven months under a law signed by Governor Phil Murphy. The legislaition, sponsored by Mercer County representatives Senator Linda Greenstein and Asssemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, also aims to aid the process of locating missing law enforcement officers.
"The men and women 'in blue' who help keep our communities safe should be protected in any way possible," said Greenstein (D-Plainsboro), the chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. "Given the safety risks faced by law enforcement officers, it is only right that we create a system that would allow for more efficient communication to help ensure that an individual who attacks an officer is caught swiftly and brought to justice."
Similar to existing Amber and Silver Alert programs, the Blue Alert System will enable media outlets to voluntarily disseminate information to the public about a missing officer or suspect within their service regions. A Blue Alert will be activated when a law enforcement officer has been seriously injured or killed, and a suspect has not been apprehended, or an officer is missing while on duty under circumstances warranting concern for his or her safety; there is sufficient descriptive information about the suspect or the circumstances of an officer’s injury, death or disappearance to indicate that alert may assist in locating a suspect or missing officer; and the leading law enforcement agency requests its initiation.
“Law enforcement officers take on the dangerous task of protecting communities across New Jersey. When they’re attacked or go missing, every resident of this state with any relevant information has a duty to come forward,” said DeAngelo (D-Hamilton). “Blue Alerts can provide a means of making sure that those who harm men and women in uniform are found and penalized accordingly.
“While all of us hope that we’ll never have to use the Blue Alert System, our law enforcement agencies need to know that the infrastructure is there should they ever need it,” said DeAngelo. “This is just one way for our state to demonstrate its support for those who put their lives on the line every day.”
The alerts would specifically include a description of the missing officer or suspect, means for the public to contact local law enforcement agencies with relevant information, and any other information deemed appropriate.
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