SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — In honor of two New York City Police Officers who were killed in an ambush on December 20, 2014, congress passed the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act. This law established a nationwide system to give an early warning of threats to law enforcement and to help catch suspects in a timely manner.

Blue Alerts may be used by local or state authorities to alert the public and law enforcement about a dangerous person who is linked to killing or seriously injuring a law enforcement officer. Blue Alerts may also be used if a person is posing an immediate and credible threat to law enforcement.

Blue Alerts may be issued when:

  • A law enforcement officer is killed or seriously injured on duty.
  • A law enforcement officer is missing.
  • There is an incredible and imminent threat to kill or seriously injure a law enforcement officer.
  • There is actionable information known about a suspect for a public release to be helpful to law enforcement.

The law enforcement agency involved must approve the alert being issued.

When a Blue Alert is activated, all law enforcement agencies will be notified and put on high alert. Media outlets will be notified to inform the general public. A Wireless Emergency Alert will send a message immediately to cell phones.

Like a dangerous weather alert or Amber Alert, Blue Alerts can be sent out in multiple ways. Push notification, social media, television, radio stations, or even highway signs are among many ways law enforcement can send out information on a Blue Alert. There are 37 states, including Missouri, with a formal Blue Alert plan in place.