What Is a Law Enforcement Blue Alert?

brave policeman was shoot in the shootout leaning on the police car

Blue Alert is designed to increase officer safety and more quickly apprehend violent criminals who seriously injure or kill local, state or federal law enforcement officers in the line of duty.

The National Blue Alert Network is used throughout the United States to alert the media and the public when a law enforcement officer has been injured, killed or gone missing, as well as to provide any identifying information, such as a description of the suspect or vehicle involved in the incident.

A Blue Alert can also be issued when a suspect poses a credible and imminent threat to law enforcement. These alerts are transmitted to overhead highway message signs, wireless devices, cell phone devices, television stations and radio stations. Currently, 37 states have Blue Alert plans.

Law enforcement agencies working at a local, state or federal level should consider the importance of Blue Alerts and how best to integrate these alerts with police software to keep their officers safe on the job.

Criteria for the Action of Blue Alerts

The Blue Alert system has been used in the U.S. for more than a decade to send mass notifications that warn the public of dangerous offenders and to solicit information that could help in the apprehending of these criminals.

federal communications comission logoThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated in December of 2017 that they had included Blue Alerts in the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). With this integration, law enforcement agencies had the means to quickly and efficiently share information locally and with citizens in nearby states if the offender was potentially heading their way.

Certain criteria must be met before a Blue Alert can be activated. First, the Department of State Police must confirm that a suspect has not yet been apprehended and that the suspect could be a serious threat to the public. There should also be sufficient information to provide to the public which could assist in finding the suspect’s location.

Law enforcement may also meet the criteria for issuing a Blue Alert upon the notification that a law enforcement officer has gone missing in the line of duty under circumstances that potentially put the officer’s safety at risk. Prior to this action, the Department of Police will confirm that the officer is missing in the line of duty and that there is sufficient information that could be provided to the public to assist in locating the missing officer.

There are several ways that Blue Alerts warn the public of a potential danger:

  • When a law enforcement officer in the line of duty has been seriously injured or killed.
  • When a law enforcement officer is deemed missing in connection with his or her job role.
  • When law enforcement determines that there is a credible and imminent threat to seriously injure or kill a law enforcement officer.
  • When law enforcement determines that an offender has posed an imminent risk to the public.
  • When there is an in-depth description of the suspect or a vehicle used by the offender that can be used for broadcasting information.
  • When sharing details with the media and public could potentially prevent further risk or could help in apprehending the offender.
  • While Blue Alerts are relatively rare, they do play an important role in keeping law enforcement officers and the communities they serve safe from harm. However, it is important that law enforcement agencies properly integrate Blue Alerts with their police software so that these alerts can be made as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Integrating Blue Alerts with CPI OpenFox

man receiving alert in mobileCPI is the only information-sharing solutions provider that is dedicated to serving the law enforcement industry. CPI’s OpenFox Suite of law enforcement software consists of a series of innovative tools and features designed to facilitate secure information sharing and eliminate communication barriers.

OpenFox software products work seamlessly to streamline important business processes and optimize information sharing and reporting. Custom software solutions can be easily integrated into existing software systems to achieve a more intelligent workflow. Blue Alert notifications are an essential component of any complete law enforcement software system.

CPI uses software-as-a-service (SaaS) as an effective way of delivering OpenFox applications to clients. SaaS eliminates the installation and maintenance of software. Instead, the software can be easily accessed via a secure telecommunication infrastructure. This allows officers to easily use the software without having to manage complex hardware and software management.

The National Blue Alert System enables smooth communication between law enforcement, news, transportation, social and wireless media. These alerts are critical as they allow the public to play a necessary role in helping to apprehend violent criminals and to keep their own families safe from potential harm. To learn more about CPI OpenFox software or to schedule a consultation, contact CPI OpenFox online or by phone at 630.547.3088.