Blue Alert bill hopes to help law enforcement

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OKLAHOMA - Thousands of cars drive by the highways billboard signs every day.

It's only lighted under circumstances like an Amber alert or weather warning, but a bill in the legislature wants to add injured or killed law enforcement to that list.

"It would notify the public that the suspect or suspects and any description of them or their vehicle they're driving, push that information out," said Mark Nelson, vice president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police.

In the past year Denver, Memphis, New Orleans and New York have all had incidents with an officer injured or killed with a suspect still on the loose.

A National Blue Alert System would trigger those highway billboards and text message similar to an Amber Alert.

"[With] social media, there's a lot of stuff that gets out pretty quickly, but it's not always accurate," Nelson said. "This [alert for law enforcement is] so the public can rest assure it's accurate."

Twenty-five states already have the Blue Alert System, which started in Florida almost 10 years ago.

House Rep. Richard Morrisette, D-Oklahoma,  and Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, authored House Bill 2747.

Loveless is aware some may think the bill will water down the alert system.

"We do need to be careful of that because we don't want to overload people all of the time, but I think having [an alert] for law enforcement because they do put their lives on the line, I think this does merit that much attention to it," Loveless said.

And, for police officers, it's about public safety.

"Anytime there's a person who's shown to be that violent and have that much disregard for life that they would assault or kill a law enforcement officer, there's really no telling what they'd do to the public,” Nelson said.

They said it won't cost anything to add the Blue Alert system.

The system bill is getting closer to becoming law.

It unanimously passed the House of Representatives this week.

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