OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The House unanimously passed legislation on Thursday that would notify people in close proximity about escaped inmates.
House Bill 1546 would instruct the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to develop an “Orange” Alert system to notify residents within a 40-mile radius of a correctional facility if an inmate has escaped.
According to officials, Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton, explained the bill initially drafted by high school senior Katie Edelen. Edelen drafted the bill during her time at “Capitol Camp”, a program that is held at the State Capitol and hosted by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau for high school FFA and 4-H students.
“Katie and her family lived through a frightening situation created by escaped inmates,” Moore said.
“I could not be more proud of her courage and leadership in taking such a difficult situation and working to produce a positive result by creating this language to protect the residents of the state of Oklahoma. Residents who have a prison nearby deserve to be notified immediately if their safety is in danger from an escaped prisoner.”
Moore explained that the Orange Alert would be similar to the state’s Amber Alert system that appears on people’s cell phones. The alert would be sent to residents living within a 40-mile radius of the facility the inmate escaped from.
Officials say HB 1546 passed 96-0 in the House and will now move onto the Senate for further consideration where it is authored by Senator Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher.