A picture of Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
Benjamin C.
Democrat MD

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  • Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

    by Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

    Posted on 2013-02-14

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    CARDIN (for himself, Mr. Graham, Mr. Leahy, Ms. Klobuchar, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Whitehouse, Ms. Heitkamp, and Mr. Durbin): S. 357. A bill to encourage, enhance, and integrate Blue Alert plans throughout the United States in order to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the National Blue Alert Act of 2013.

    Every day, more than 900,000 Federal, State and local law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. Unfortunately these officers can become targets for criminals and those seeking to evade our justice system, and we must make sure our officers have all the tools they need to protect themselves and each other.

    Each year thousands of law enforcement officers are assaulted while performing their duties and dozens lose their lives. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, 72 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2011. This [[Page S783]] is an unacceptable level of violence against our law enforcement officers, and we must act now to better protect them.

    This is why I am introducing the National Blue Alert Act of 2013 today, and thank Senators Graham, Leahy, Klobuchar, Boxer, Blumenthal, Whitehouse, Heitkamp, and Durbin for joining me as co-sponsors of this important legislation.

    The Blue Alert system provides for rapid dissemination of information about criminal suspects who have injured or killed law enforcement officers. The Blue Alert system would only be used in the case of the death or serious injury of a law enforcement officer, where the suspect has not been apprehended, and where there is sufficient descriptive information of the suspect and any vehicles involved. This information can be used by local law enforcement, the public and the media to help facilitate capture of such offenders and ultimately reduce the risk they pose to our communities and law enforcement officers.

    A National Blue Alert will encourage, enhance and integrate blue alert plans throughout the United States in order to effectively disseminate information notifying law enforcement, media and the public that a suspect is wanted in connection with an attack on a law enforcement officer.

    Currently there is no national alert system that provides immediate information to other law enforcement agencies, the media or the public at large. Many states have created a state blue alert system in an effort to better inform their local communities. The State of Maryland, under the leadership of Governor Martin O'Malley, created their Blue Alert system in 2008 after the murder of Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown. Blue Alert programs have been created in 18 states so far including: Washington, California, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Montana, and Delaware.

    The National Blue Alert Act will provide police officers and other emergency units with the ability to react quickly to apprehend violent offenders and will complement the work being done by Attorney General Holder in his Law Enforcement Officer Safety Initiative.

    The purpose of our National Blue Alert legislation is to keep our law enforcement officers and our communities safe. And based on the success of the AMBER Alert and the SILVER Alert, I believe this BLUE Alert will be equally successful in helping to apprehend criminal suspects who have seriously injured or killed our law enforcement officers.

    I am also pleased to say this legislation has the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Concerns of Police Survivors, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department. Passing this legislation can help us live up to our commitment to help better protect those who serve us.

    ______ By Mr. WYDEN (for himself, Mr. Paul, Mr. McConnell, and Mr. Merkley): S. 359. A bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

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