With all of the dismal news sucking the air out of the news cycle these days it’s worth taking a moment to note when something good actually happens. Most of you are probably familiar with the Amber Alert systems in place around the nation. This surprisingly effective program rapidly disseminates information about missing and/or endangered children in hopes of having the public help locate them before they disappear entirely. This week the Justice Department announced the launch of a similar national initiative designed to identify suspects who attack police officers and rapidly track them down in a similar fashion. Rather than amber, this one is known as the National Blue Alert Network. (DoJ website)
The Justice Department, along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), today announced the nationwide rollout of the National Blue Alert Network, including newly developed deliverables and federal interagency cooperation to enhance the safety and support of America’s law enforcement officers. Under implementation by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), the National Blue Alert Network promotes rapid dissemination of information to law enforcement, the media and the public about violent offenders who have killed, seriously injured or pose an imminent threat to law enforcement, or when an officer is missing in connection with official duties.
Named in honor of two fallen New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers who were ambushed in December 2014, the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act was signed into law in May 2015. The COPS Office was selected to implement the Act in September 2016 and has partnered with other federal agencies, including the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to establish enhanced communications systems, guidelines and resources.
It’s particularly touching and fitting that the program is being named after Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. As you likely recall, they were the two NYPD cops who were brutally assassinated while sitting in their squad car back in 2014. In that case the killer committed suicide when law enforcement closed in on him, but the ensuing investigation revealed that he had posted his intent to kill some cops on social media before undertaking the long drive from the Baltimore area up to New York City. While we’ll never know for sure, had someone noticed those posts and put out a Blue Alert he might have been stopped before he could carry out his evil deeds.
The Amber Alert system has been surprisingly effective and it’s a good model to follow. When a dangerous situation arises for the cops in any area, pumping out information such as descriptions of the suspects, the type of vehicle they may be in and any other useful data to a huge number of people’s phones, tablets and televisions could be the difference between life and death. And the beauty of it is that most of the infrastructure needed is already in place, so the cost to the taxpayers should be relatively painless. Mostly this just requires a better system of national coordination.
Exit question: This would be a preposterous concern in a more sane world, but remember that we live in the era of RESIST! and sanctuary cities. Are there any liberal states or municipalities who will refuse to sign on and participate in this network out of “principles” do you suppose? We should start keeping track now because I absolutely wouldn’t rule it out.