Long Island launches 'blue alert' system as attacks against officers rise

Stacey Sager Image
Friday, March 24, 2023
Long Island launches 'blue alerts' as attacks against officers rise
Long Island law enforcement and officials announced that blue alerts will be sent out to make the public aware of anyone suspected of hurting officers. Stacey Sager has the story.

MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) -- Law enforcement and elected officials on Long Island announced that 'blue alerts' will now be sent out to make sure the public is aware of anyone suspected of killing or hurting officers.

For those who put their lives on the line each and every day in New York, it's legislation that's been years in the making. And so, on Friday, in a rare display of bi-partisanship, lawmakers and law enforcement revealed the new initiative.

"When there is an attack on a police officer and there is an active threat in our communities, the blue alert system will aid in the apprehension of a dangerous criminal and keep our officers safe," New York Assemblyman Steve Stern said.

It works similarly to the amber alert system, a communications blast that allows ordinary people to help.

"We want them to call 911 if they get this alert, and they see something and they know what's going on," Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

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The blue alert was first introduced after the gut-wrenching assassination of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn more than 8 years ago.

It was President Barack Obama who introduced it, inviting all states to opt in. As of now, 37 of them have, including New Jersey and Connecticut, but ironically, not New York where that incident inspired the idea.

Why has it taken so long? Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder weighed in. He blames recent laws in Albany, which have hurt, rather than helped police.

"And now we're standing here with a law that says the last three years you were wrong," Ryder said. "This is 'back the blue' in Nassau County, Long Island, they back the blue. They support their law enforcement."

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In Suffolk County, the police commissioner was also relieved at the thought of saving any police officer and their family, from the worst possible outcomes.

"Two words. Thank. God," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said. "This is a great day, a great day."

Regardless of politics, this is one piece of legislation that can't come soon enough.


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