'Blue Alert' bill to catch cop killers becomes law on Jan. 1
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the start of a new year, a new law will go into effect designed to help law enforcement track down the criminals who kill, or threaten officers with a gun.
When officers need it most, a new legislative bill will allow them to tap into the amber alert system to get the public's help using Caltrans signs and emergency alert services.
The "Blue Alert" as it is called will be used to find suspects who have taken the life of an officer or assaulted an officer with a gun.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says the system will arm the public with information about suspects who are desperate and dangerous.
Sheriff Mims said, "But where they escape from a situation, and they are on the run, they are not gonna hesitate to hurt the public, because they've already hurt or killed a deputy sheriff or police officer."
Senate bill 839 was signed into law three months ago by Governor Schwarzenegger.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the Blue Alert can be a great tool as long as the information given to the public is discretionary and the system is used sparingly.
Chief Dyer said, "One of the things we've learned with the Amber Alert system is that if information is put out too often citizens become numb to it and that's why we want to reserve those types of cases for the most important. Well the same holds true for when an officer is seriously hurt or killed."
The new option is cost effective too, since the emergency system is already in place and will not be an additional cost to the public or the state.
A Blue Alert website will also be launched so anyone can log on to find out about a suspect or vehicle description.
Local police leaders agree the resource will allow the community to play a valuable role in making sure dangerous suspects end up in jail.
jerry dyer, sheriff margaret mims, state, sontaya rose
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