Blue Alert will make Connecticut safer

The state Legislature has passed a piece of legislation, later signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, that we think will improve public safety. The law will create a Blue Alert system in Connecticut, beginning Oct. 1.

The Blue Alert will function the same way as the existing Amber and Silver Alert systems already do for missing children and senior citizens.

A Blue Alert would notify the public of possible danger after a law enforcement officer has been killed, injured or is missing, and a suspect — considered to be an imminent threat — is at large.

Further, it would solicit the public’s assistance in apprehending the suspect by providing identifying features of the suspect, such as license plate information or his or her last known whereabouts.

Malloy noted the Boston Marathon bombing underscored how valuable the public can be in identifying suspects.

“As we saw [in April] in Massachusetts, public notification played a significant role in assisting law enforcement in apprehending a suspect who harmed a police officer and a number of others,” Malloy said. “This system will complement our existing Amber and Silver notifications and will put into practice a new, formal statewide communications system for this type of emergency.”

The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will develop and implement policies and procedures for operating and administering the system.

This will include procedures governing requests by law enforcement agencies to activate the system and guidelines to ensure that the dissemination of information does not compromise the investigation of the offense or disappearance, or violate the privacy of the law enforcement officer who is the subject of the alert or of the officer’s next-of-kin.

Currently, at least 15 states have Blue Alert laws, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

The Blue Alert is a valuable tool in protecting the public from suspects on the run and potentially armed. We applaud the state’s elected officials for their role in approving a system to make Connecticut a safer place.