|Legislation that would immediately put out information about suspects when a police officer is missing, injured or killed in the line of duty, has received approval in two key committees in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Senate Bill 655, which is sponsored by State Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and State Rep. Vince Dean (R-East Ridge), was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday and the House Finance Subcommittee Wednesday.
“A criminal who harms law enforcement officers won't think twice about harming average citizens,” Tracy said. “This is a quick way to get this information posted so law enforcement can catch the criminal to bring them to justice and save lives.”
Tracy said the bill would put into place a Blue Alert system in Tennessee that would work similar to the America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) system used to get instant information out regarding serious child abduction cases.
“As with AMBER Alerts, which are only posted when police suspect a child is in danger, the Blue Alerts would be used when a suspect has not been apprehended and is considered a serious threat to the public,” Dean said. “The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) would use the statewide infrastructure of the AMBER Alert system to facilitate a Blue Alert.”
According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, any cost to establish the Blue Alert System can be accommodated within existing resources using the current messaging framework.
“There will be little, if any, cost to operate the Blue Alert system,” Dean added. “This bill allows us to get critical and timely information out to the public and help us locate those who pose a great threat to the public’s safety.”