DOJ rolls out special alert network to support police officers

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The Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced a new communications system designed to rapidly disseminate information and safeguard police officers by spreading information about suspects or life-threatening situations, similar to how the AMBER alert system broadcasts information about missing children.

The National Blue Alert Network is a nationwide news initiative that aims “to establish enhanced communications systems, guidelines, and resources” to “enhance the safety and support of America’s law enforcement officers” across the U.S., according to a statement released Friday by the Department of Justice.

Implementation of the network is overseen by Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), an office within the DoJ.

The DoJ is also partnering with the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security in alerting law enforcement, media outlets, and the public on the possible whereabouts of suspects, identifying descriptions, vehicle information, and other information pertinent to capturing “violent offenders who have hurt, killed or pose an imminent danger to law enforcement,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Alerts can be broadcast via television, radio, cellular, and other wireless devices. It has also been reported that 27 states have blue alert plans in place to support law enforcement safety.

Currently, 27 states have the Blue Alert infrastructure in place while measures are being taken to assist the remaining states in adopting the plans for enhanced national coordination.

“The men and women of law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect and serve the public,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “The Department of Justice is committed to supporting law enforcement, and the National Blue Alert Network will provide this country with the necessary framework for rapid response to help save lives and apprehend criminals who would attack those who bravely protect public safety.”

The National Blue Alert Network, which the DoJ officially announced during National Police Week. was signed into law in May 2015 after two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were ambushed in December 2014.

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