PA 13-24—HB 6007

Public Safety and Security Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING "BLUE ALERTS"

SUMMARY: This act requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to establish an emergency alert system to help law enforcement agencies (1) apprehend anyone suspected of killing or seriously injuring a peace officer or (2) locate a missing peace officer. (The system is commonly known as “Blue Alert”—see BACKGROUND. )

DESPP must develop and implement policies and procedures for operating and administering the system. These include procedures governing requests by law enforcement agencies to activate the system and guidelines to ensure that the dissemination of information does not (1) compromise the investigation of the offense or disappearance or (2) violate the privacy of the peace officer who is the subject of the alert or the officer's next-of-kin.

The act also specifies when DESPP may activate the system.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

BLUE ALERT ACTIVATION

DESPP may activate the Blue Alert system only if it determines, after consulting with the law enforcement agency requesting activation, that:

1. a peace officer (a) was assaulted and killed or seriously injured, or was assaulted with a deadly weapon, by a suspect who has not been apprehended and poses an imminent threat to the public or other peace officers or (b) is missing while performing his or her duties under circumstances warranting concern for his or her safety;

2. sufficient descriptive information is available to disseminate to the public about the (a) suspect or his or her vehicle or other means of escape or (b) circumstances of the peace officer's disappearance; and

3. disseminating the information could help apprehend the suspect, locate the missing officer, or avoid injury to another person.

BACKGROUND

Peace Officers

By law “peace officers” are state or local police officers, Division of Criminal Justice inspectors, state marshals exercising statutory authority, judicial marshals performing their duties, conservation officers or special conservation officers, constables who perform criminal law enforcement duties, appointed special policemen, adult probation officers, Department of Correction officials authorized to make arrests in a correctional institution or facility, investigators in the State Treasurer's Office, and federal narcotics agents (CGS 53a-3).

Deadly Weapon

A “deadly weapon” is a weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles (CGS 53a-3).

Blue Alerts

Blue Alerts are similar to AMBER Alerts, but have a different purpose. Instead of being used to alert the public about missing or endangered children, Blue Alerts are issued when a law enforcement officer has been killed, seriously injured, or missing and a suspect, considered an imminent threat, is at large. Blue Alerts notify the public of the possible danger to the officer and solicit its assistance in locating him or her and apprehending the suspect.

OLR Tracking: VR: SP: TA: RO