Spartanburg, S.C. – Legislation creating a “Blue Alert” system passed the House of Representatives this week.
Representative Eddie Tallon, R-Spartanburg, authored and introduced Blue Alert legislation to create a statewide Blue Alert program – designed to quickly warn the public and other law enforcement when a violent offender seriously injures, murders, or abducts a law enforcement officer.
The Blue Alert will notify the public, other law enforcement, and the media through electronic highway signs and other law enforcement mechanisms of the incident.
“From our experience with the AMBER Alert we have learned that rapid dissemination of information to the public can result in quick turnaround on critical tips that save lives,” Rep. Tallon said.
The Spartanburg legislator is working with law enforcement and fellow members of the House of Representatives in his effort to pass this important piece of legislation. The bill received a unanimous vote this week and is headed to the Senate for review.
“The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will be responsible for running the Blue Alert program,” Rep. Tallon said.
A Blue Alert shall be issued if a local, state, or federal law enforcement officer is killed, seriously injured, or abducted; and the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction (a) determines that the suspect poses a serious risk or threat to the public and other law enforcement personnel; (b) possesses sufficient information that could assist in locating the suspect, including information regarding the suspect’s vehicle; and (c) recommends the issuance of a Blue Alert to SLED.
Rep. Tallon, a retired SLED Agent and a security consultant, said: “An offender who will harm a police officer is clearly a threat to the others and must be apprehended as quickly as possible.” The Blue Alert provides a mechanism to expedite the process of capture. Two officers were shot and killed in the line of duty last year.
“You hope you never have to trigger the Blue Alert, but if the situation arises we need to be standing ready to respond,” Rep. Tallon said. “Quick apprehension of these individuals is critical to public safety.”
If passed, South Carolina will join at least 10 other states who have implemented similar alert programs.
Rep. Eddie Tallon