Blue Alert System to send notifications when law enforcement attacked

A new alert system will send out public notifications when authorities are seeking a suspect who attacked a law enforcement officer in North Carolina.

The N.C. Center for Missing Persons, overseen by the State Highway Patrol, will run the alert system and will issue the alerts along with descriptions of the suspect or suspects and their mode of transportation. The alert will be broadcast on radio and television, N.C. Department of Transportation message boards on major highways and on terminals and monitors at all retail locations for the N.C. Education Lottery.

“This Blue Alert system is intended to aid in swiftly apprehending a dangerous suspect and doing so safely,” Erik Hooks, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety. said in a statement. “I am delighted that we have this new system. It is an excellent way to ask for the public’s help in providing leads to help law enforcement locate the assailant, as well as keeping the public safe from danger.”

To initiate a Blue Alert, police departments, sheriffs’ offices and other law enforcement agencies must have information that would assist in locating the suspect, such as a description of the suspect's vehicle, license plate information and a detailed description of the suspect. A Blue Alert may also be issued if a law enforcement officer is missing while on duty.

Blue Alert began as a nationwide initiative in 2015, named in honor of two New York City police detectives assassinated in 2014 while sitting in their patrol car.

The Blue Alert system is modeled after the AMBER and Silver Alert systems currently in place in every state. Twenty-seven states have implemented the Blue Alert program.

“We hope we never have to issue a Blue Alert,” said Col. Glenn McNeill, State Highway Patrol commander. “However, if we do, North Carolina has this new quick response system that, with tips from the public, will hopefully result in the assailant’s capture.”