Sen. George Runner today announced that the California Assembly Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 839, also known as “Blue Alert,” which would use the existing statewide Amber Alert notification system when a peace officer has been killed, seriously wounded or assaulted with a firearm and the suspect has fled the scene.
“Having access to the existing emergency notification system would allow law enforcement and state broadcasters to rapidly send out a Blue Alert – and save lives,” said Runner who authored California’s Amber Alert in 2003.
“As the Amber Alert system has demonstrated numerous times, a quick response is critical.”
Investigators could immediately broadcast information through the Emergency Broadcast System on television and radio and on the freeway signs to alert the public.
Runner said while many crime categories declined in 2009, the murder of peace officers increased by more than 25 percent nationally.
“Part of this disturbing trend was the killing of 15 officers in just 5 incidents. In California, four officers were killed in Oakland and six in Seattle last year,” Runner added.
Blue Alert is supported by the California State Sheriffs’ Association, which represents all 58 California county sheriffs, the California Broadcasters’ Association and several statewide law enforcement agencies.
The bill passed the committee unanimously and moves to the Assembly in the coming weeks. If it passes the Assembly and gains the governor’s approval, California will be one of first states to implement the system statewide.