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New “Blue Alert” System Will Help Identify Criminals Who Attack Police

Most people have heard of “Amber Alerts,” where freeway signs and emergency broadcasts notify the public of abductions in hopes of catching the suspect. Starting January 1, California will also have a “Blue Alert” system – which does the same when a police officer is killed or seriously injured.

The measure’s supporters hope “Blue Alerts” will help law enforcement track down dangerous criminals far more quickly than before.

“The idea behind this is that we can get more eyes and ears out there looking for a suspect,” said Ron Cottingham who leads the umbrella organization that represents all the police and sheriff's unions in the state.

It’s one of many law enforcement groups that backed the bill.

“We believe that anybody that is brazen enough, bold enough and dangerous enough that they kill a police officer or severely injure a police officer – then they are a direct danger to the public, because these are people that do not want to get caught," Cottingham said.

In fact, Cottingham acknowledges a criminal who triggers a “Blue Alert” is probably more dangerous than an “Amber Alert” suspect, because of the nature of the crime. He stresses the alert system is never designed for the public to intervene – just to call 911 if they see any people or vehicles matching the description.

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