Nassau County Lawmakers Say It's Time To Protect Police Officers With 'Blue Alert' System
MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Lawmakers want to create a new "Blue Alert" system that would notify all residents of violence against a police officer, to help catch the perpetrator.
They say it's needed to stem the tide of anti-cop violence, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.
There are weather alerts, AMBER alerts and Silver alerts. Now, Nassau County lawmakers want to launch Blue alerts.
"Our collective safety here in Nassau County is in jeopardy if those who protect us are not protected, themselves," Legislator Josh Lafazan said.
"If you have the nerve to shoot a cop in this county or anywhere in this country, then you'll shoot anybody. The Blue Alert stops and captures the individual before he takes that violence against anybody in our state," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
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The alerts would readily get information to the public to help locate a suspect who has killed or injured a police officer. Congress passed the Blue Alert Act in 2015 after two New York cops were killed in an ambush.
But New York is not among the 36 states that have launched the system.
The proposal would also make it a human rights violation to harass or attack an officer. This comes in the wake of the 700 police officers injured during the George Floyd killing protests.
Amy Marion, who helped write Nassau's citizen police reform plan, said she questions the timing.
"It is deflecting attention from the needed police reform in Nassau County, and specifically police reform in response to excessive force and the deadly use of force," Marion said.
Attorney Bruce Barket is asking, why just a Blue Alert?
"We want to protect the police, but we want to protect citizens as well ... We should use it to catch any homicide suspect," Barket said.
The public is divided.
"The least we could do. I wouldn't mind it at all," one person said.
"It's just another way for them to try to get around the wrongdoing that they're doing," another said.
Police unions say the protections are needed.
"The pendulum went one direction too far against the police because of one man's actions," Nassau Police PBA President James McDermott said, adding you can't paint any group with one broad stroke.
New Jersey and Connecticut both have Blue Alert systems. A measure has stalled in Albany for years.
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