Last week, while many of us were caught up by the internet getting ripped apart by the seams, FCC chairman Ajit Pai also announced a new national system of wireless emergency Blue Alerts, which will notify the public if police officers are threatened, “missing, seriously injured, or killed.”
Pai began tearing up last Thursday as he talked about the families of slain NYPD cops Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, whose tragedy sparked the Blue Alert Act of 2015. Liu and Ramos were shot and killed in 2015 by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had declared to a court previously that he was mentally ill. At the time of the incident, NYPD cops received a fax from Baltimore PD about Brinsley heading to New York, but it was already too late. Blue Alerts would serve to notify others in the area far more quickly than the old fax system.
The national Blue Alerts system was proposed back in June. Blue Alerts had already been available in 28 states as of July this year, but were not offered in states including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
The FCC order adds Blue Alerts to the standard national system transmitted through cable and satellite broadcast, radio stations, and wireline video outlets. Local and national officials can already issue wireless emergency alerts on the national system under three categories: Amber Alerts, presidential alerts that can only be issued by the president, and imminent threats.