Blue Alert System implemented on Long Island

Blue Alert System implemented on Long Island

New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern, center, is joined by Long Island elected leaders and members of law enforcement to announce the implementation of the Blue Alert System to aid in the apprehension of suspects of killing or seriously injuring a law enforcement officer in New York State. Photo from Steve Stern’s office

A system to track down those who kill or injure law enforcement officers across the nation has been implemented locally.

The Blue Alert System was recently rolled out in New York state and on Long Island. 

State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills), one of the sponsors of the legislation to utilize the alert system, announced the implementation at a March 24 press conference in Mineola. The system is designed to help apprehend suspects who authorities believe killed or seriously injured a local, state or federal law enforcement officer.

The state Legislature unanimously approved the legislation. 

“I was proud to sponsor and pass this critically important legislation in support of the brave men and women of law enforcement who sacrifice so much to keep our neighborhoods safe,” Stern said in a press release. “The Blue Alert System has a proven track record of success nationwide and its implementation is long overdue in New York state. This initiative will help protect our community, protect our officers and save lives.”

The Blue Alert System is similar to the Amber Alert used to find missing children and the Silver Alert for missing vulnerable adults. New York joins 37 other states in using the new system, including New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont. According to Stern’s office, the law creating the system went into effect March 16, allowing the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to begin issuing alerts when needed. The state agency will be in consultation with law enforcement authorities.

The system is modeled after the nationwide alert system titled Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015. The nationwide system was named as such to honor Ramos and Liu, two New York City police officers who were killed in the line of duty in Brooklyn in 2014.

Among the system’s supporters is Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney (R), who was on hand for the press conference.

“Police officers go to work every day facing the risk of physical danger or death, selflessly confronting that peril to allow us the chance to live in peace,” Tierney said in a press release. “An attack against our first responders is an attack against our society and we must take every measure possible to help ensure the safety of our police.”

Law enforcement agencies can request the alert if they believe “that the public dissemination of information may help avert further harm or accelerate apprehension of the suspect,” according to the legislation. Depending on the case, the alert can be issued on a regional or statewide basis. The system will be used in coordination with the New York State Department of Transportation, public television and radio broadcaster organizations. Information may include details such as the suspect’s vehicle or license plate number.

The National Fraternal Order of Police has reported as of April 3, 99 officers in the country have been shot in the line of duty so far this year, a 44% increase from 2021 year to date. Of the 99 shot, 10 of them were killed by gunfire, which is 33% less year to date from 2021.