OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced on Friday that the new Orange Alert notification system is now ready.
An Orange Alert, signed into law on May 17, is an alert that would notify nearby residents of jail escapees.
According to ODOC, the idea was developed by Katie Edelen, whose aunt was taken hostage by prison escapees. Edelen chose to help Oklahomans and came up with a way to warn citizens about prison escapes.
While Edelen was attending a legislative camp at the State Capitol in 2022, the then-high school senior drafted legislation to create an alert system that tells citizens when inmates unlawfully leave a correctional facility.
Officials say Rep. Anthony Moore believed that Edelen’s proposed legislation should become a law. Moore and Sen. Darcy Jech co-authored House Bill 1546, which was passed in both chambers and signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 17, 2023. It will take effect on November 1.
Unlike an Amber Alert, the ODOC says the Orange Alert is an optional system. It is not location-based and residents may opt-in to receive notifications by texting a keyword to 77295. Each facility’s keyword can be found at orangealert.ok.gov. In the event of a walkaway or escape, the alert will be sent to those on the specific facility’s list.
“ODOC is excited to bring Katie’s idea to life as we continue efforts to keep Oklahomans safe.” said ODOC.