ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers are debating a statewide alert system that would be used by law enforcement and broadcasters when a police officer is hurt.
The Blue Alert system would help get the word out quicker to the public to help identify and locate a suspect who seriously hurts or kills a law enforcement officer. This would apply to local, state and federal police in Minnesota.
Rep. Tony Cornish, who introduced the bill, says the system would use the same format already in place that issues Amber Alerts.
The bill was read and discussed Tuesday morning before being approved by the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee.
This comes on the heels of a Stearns county jury finding Brian Fitch Sr. guilty in the shooting death of Officer Scott Patrick last summer.
Committee members used Fitch’s case as an example of how the Blue Alert system would help find and capture a suspect.
The president of the Minnesota chapter of the organization MN Concerns Of Police Survivors, Susan Mayerle, says the alert system would help protect the public.
“I had a chance to go out to the candlelight vigil the night that Officer Patrick went down and the community, the support and (there was a lot of) concern that this perpetrator was still out on the loose and really not knowing much about him, so I think that putting this blue alert system in place will put many people at ease,” Mayerle said.
The bill will now move to the Transportation House and Finance Committee.
A Blue Alert system is already being used in 20 other states.