Last week the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 180, the National Blue Alert Act of 2013.
This bill requires the Attorney General to establish a national Blue Alert network within the Department of Justice and to designate a national coordinator to assist states establish Blue Alert systems.
Blue Alerts are public alerts issued for a suspect that is involved in the killing or injuring of a police officer. These are similar to the Amber Alerts issued for missing children.
I welcome the idea of a public-private partnership when it comes to crime fighting. Jalopnik has a history of helping police departments everywhere solve pixelated puzzles of unidentified vehicles; proving that sometimes the public* as a whole can be an invaluable resource.
*Public defined: Everyone in the world minus people who comment on YouTube.
Need another example of the public-private partnership in finding bad guys? Look no further than the Boston Marathon bombing. Police quickly turned to the public for any photos they may have taken that day that would help them identify the suspects.
The world of InstaFaceTweeVine means everyone with a smart phone at a crime scene is a walking ISR asset. (ISR - Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance).
Law enforcement needs to see people less like spectators and more like bimodal drones powered by Apple and Android.
Then why limit Blue Alert systems?
If a crazed lunatic in Florida goes on a machete-wielding spree through a neighborhood and kills everything in his path except police officers – they’ll be no public wide alert made. What if that same guy jumps into a 2011 Dodge Caravan and eludes police? Nope, still no alert. If a lone gunman shoots a police officer in the leg and then takes off – a Blue Alert will be issued and the public brought in to assist.
Why then create a system that has the potential to leverage the power of the public to locate dangerous criminals and then only limit it to instances where a police officer is injured or killed?
I can only assume that this system, much like Amber Alerts, is limited to specific incidents to retain its value. The last thing law enforcement wants to do is create a threat-level orange way of thinking as it relates to these alerts.
What say you people of the Internet – should states roll out REDRUM Alerts and broadcast messages like: KILLER in RUSTY ECONOLINE VAN. N on I-95. PIT MANEUVER ON SITE.