Pascrell Statement on DOJ's Rollout of National Blue Alert Network
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and David Reichert (R-WA) released the following statements after the Department of Justice announced the nationwide rollout of the National Blue Alert Network, which was created by the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015. This bill was sponsored by Reps. Pascrell and Reichert, who jointly chair the House Law Enforcement Caucus, and was signed into law by President Obama on May 19, 2015.
The National Blue Alert Network will help apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers or who have made an imminent or credible threat to cause serious injury or death to a law enforcement officer.
“After nearly two years of waiting for the Blue Alert system to be implemented, I am pleased the Department of Justice is finally ready for its nationwide rollout," said Rep. Pascrell. "The brave men and women in law enforcement need the rapid dissemination of critical, time-sensitive information about suspected criminals who are planning an imminent attack on police officers. I hope the Blue Alert system will give those in uniform some peace of mind knowing that we are doing all we can to make their already dangerous job a bit safer.”
“The successful implementation of a National Blue Alert Network not only shows our law enforcement that we care about their sacrifices but that we are doing our part to help keep them safe,” said Rep. Reichert. “With an almost 40 percent increase in law enforcement deaths so far this year, we must do more for the individuals who do the most on our behalf. By implementing a system to quickly disseminate crucial information about a criminal suspect, we will better protect communities and the officers that serve them, as well as bring criminals to justice.”
The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act (P.L. 114-12) recognizes the tragic murders and sacrifice of NYPD officers Ramos and Liu who were killed in 2014 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 these 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 assassinations of Officers Ramos and Liu.
Based on the success of the AMBER and SILVER Alert systems, the law directed the Attorney General to 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 law 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.
Rep. Pascrell and Reichert introduced the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act in March of 2015. They joined President Obama for the bill signing in 2015.
After the passage of the bill, Congressman Pascrell continued to push for its implementation. In August of 2016, Rep. Pascrell co-led a letter to the Department of Justice outlining his concerns about the lack of progress and urged the DOJ to quickly and effectively implement the legislation.
Subsequently, the COPS Director was designated to serve as the national coordinator for Blue Alert. More information can be found on their website.