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2011 House Bill 1820: Implementing the blue alert system
Introduced by Rep. Mike Hope, (Lake Stevens) (R) on February 3, 2011
Creates a statewide blue alert system to speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure local, state, or federal law enforcement officers. This act provides for the blue alert system to follow procedures already in place for the Amber alert system. This act takes effect January 1, 2012.   Official Text and Analysis.
Referred to the House Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee on February 3, 2011
Substitute offered in the House on February 16, 2011
The substitute bill: requires the Washington State Patrol to implement the Blue Alert plan, rather than individual law enforcement agencies; specifies when a law enforcement agency may send a Blue Alert, rather than being required to send an alert; requires that Blue Alerts only be sent when the release of information will not compromise an investigation and will avoid improper notice to an officer's next of kin; specifies that no cause of action may be maintained for civil damages against any radio or television broadcasting station or cable television system, or the employees of those organizations, resulting from information distributed pursuant to a Blue Alert; removes requirements that the investigating agency shall assess the appropriate boundaries of the Blue Alert and notify other agencies, the National Crime Information Center, and other program participants when an alert is terminated; and, changes certain definitions.
Referred to the House General Government Appropriations & Oversight Committee on February 17, 2011
Referred to the House Ways & Means Committee on February 2, 2012
Referred to the House Rules Committee on February 27, 2012
Amendment offered by Rep. Marko Liias (Lynnwood) (D) on February 29, 2012
Changes the definition of "law enforcement officer" to include tribal law enforcement officers, county and district fire fighters, and park rangers. Eliminates the effective date. Requires the implementation of the Act to be done within existing resources.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on February 29, 2012
Directs the Washington State Patrol to implement a Blue Alert system to assist in apprehending a person suspected of killing or seriously injuring a law enforcement officer. The system must be implemented within available resources and developed consistent with the AMBER Alert system, the Clearinghouse, and the Endangered Missing Person Advisory Plan. The Blue Alert program must include the following: procedures to support the investigating law enforcement agency as a resource for the receipt and dissemination of information about the suspect, the suspect's whereabouts, and methods of escape; a process for reporting information to designated media outlets; and criteria for the investigating agency to determine quickly whether an officer has been seriously injured or killed and whether a Blue Alert needs to be activated. The conditions under which a Blue Alert system may be activated are specified. When a Blue Alert is activated, the investigating agency must provide descriptive information under the Washington Criminal Justice Information Act and the National Crime Information Center system. Radio and television broadcasting stations and the employees of those organizations cannot be held civilly liable for broadcasting information supplied by law enforcement for distribution through a Blue Alert.
Received in the Senate on March 2, 2012
Signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire on March 15, 2012
Requires the Washington State Patrol to develop a Blue Alert system to quickly notify the public about an offender suspected of injuring or killing a law enforcement officer.