Schuitmaker introduces Blue Alert legislation to notify public after attack on law enforcement

Lansing, Mich. — Legislation introduced Thursday by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker would protect the public and law enforcement after an attack on an officer.

Senate Bill 336 would create the Blue Alert system to inform the public of attacks on law enforcement officers in an effort to help apprehend violent offenders. Similar to an Amber Alert, a Blue Alert would rapidly disseminate information about an offender across television, radio and other media.

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “We owe it to them to see that their attackers are quickly caught and brought to justice.”

To order a Blue Alert, a law enforcement officer must have been killed or seriously injured by an offender, the offender must pose a serious risk or threat to the public and other officers, information about the offender’s vehicle must be available and the law enforcement agency must recommend activation of the Blue Alert to the State Operations Center.

“The Michigan Fraternal Order of Police is proud to be supporting Sen. Schuitmaker’s legislation establishing a statewide alert system for officers who are killed or seriously injured in the line of duty,” said John P. Sadowski, State Lodge president of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

“Almost daily we see unprovoked attacks on law enforcement officers across the country,” added David A. Hiller, executive director of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

The legislation was introduced during National Police Week in conjunction with Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15. In 2014, more than 50 law enforcement officers across the United States were killed by violent criminals. Twenty-two states have already enacted Blue Alert legislation with 10 others currently considering bills.

“It’s important that we inform the public about attacks on our officers,” said Schuitmaker. “The Blue Alert system will allow for the swift apprehension of these violent criminals.”

In 2011, Schuitmaker sponsored legislation creating Silver Alerts, which broadcast information about missing seniors. The Amber Alert and Silver Alert notification systems have been very successful in helping to locate missing individuals.

SB 336 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.