The Pennsylvania House is considering legislation that would establish a type of Amber Alert system for incidents when police officers are killed or injured. The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the measure which is sponsored by Democratic Representative Dom Costa of Pittsburgh, who is a former commander with the Pittsburgh Police and served as interim chief.
The Amber Alert system helps find children who are missing and catch suspected child abductors.
Representative Costa's bill is intended to enlist the public to help locate people who are suspected of attacking law enforcement officers. Costa says if the measure is approved, the Blue Alert would use media broadcasts and messaging signs along highways to provide information about the vehicle of a suspected law enforcement assailant....
"there's no having to testify or anything like that. All you're doing is saying you believe you (have) seen that car at a certain area. It directs the law enforcement agencies to these areas to try to find and apprehend these people."
Costa says the public would become the extra eyes in the search for the suspected assailant..."when someone attacks and armed protector and hurts, injures or takes that person's life, they'll hurt anybody...do whatever it takes to escape, and it's very important that we get the information out...to try to apprehend that person or persons as quickly as possible."
The investigating law enforcement agency could recommend activation of a Blue alert when:
--a law enforcement officer is killed or seriously injured by an offender
--the offender poses a serious risk or threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel.