Text: S.665 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 114-12 (05/19/2015)

 
[114th Congress Public Law 12]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 191]]

      RAFAEL RAMOS AND WENJIAN LIU NATIONAL BLUE ALERT ACT OF 2015

[[Page 129 STAT. 192]]

Public Law 114-12
114th Congress

                                 An Act


 
  To encourage, enhance, and integrate Blue Alert plans throughout the 
United States in order to disseminate information when a law enforcement 
 officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, is missing 
  in connection with the officer's official duties, or an imminent and 
 credible threat that an individual intends to cause the serious injury 
    or death of a law enforcement officer is received, and for other 
              purposes. <<NOTE: May 19, 2015 -  [S. 665]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Rafael Ramos and 
Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015. 42 USC 13701 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National 
Blue Alert Act of 2015''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 42 USC 14165.>> DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Coordinator.--The term ``Coordinator'' means the Blue 
        Alert Coordinator of the Department of Justice designated under 
        section 4(a).
            (2) Blue alert.--The term ``Blue Alert'' means information 
        sent through the network relating to--
                    (A) the serious injury or death of a law enforcement 
                officer in the line of duty;
                    (B) an officer who is missing in connection with the 
                officer's official duties; or
                    (C) an imminent and credible threat that an 
                individual intends to cause the serious injury or death 
                of a law enforcement officer.
            (3) Blue alert plan.--The term ``Blue Alert plan'' means the 
        plan of a State, unit of local government, or Federal agency 
        participating in the network for the dissemination of 
        information received as a Blue Alert.
            (4) Law enforcement officer.--The term ``law enforcement 
        officer'' shall have the same meaning as in section 1204 of the 
        Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
        3796b).
            (5) Network.--The term ``network'' means the Blue Alert 
        communications network established by the Attorney General under 
        section 3.
            (6) State.--The term ``State'' means each of the 50 States, 
        the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin 
        Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the 
        Northern Mariana Islands.

[[Page 129 STAT. 193]]

SEC. 3. <<NOTE: Establishment. 42 USC 14165a.>> BLUE ALERT 
                    COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK.

    The Attorney General shall establish a national Blue Alert 
communications network within the Department of Justice to issue Blue 
Alerts through the initiation, facilitation, and promotion of Blue Alert 
plans, in coordination with States, units of local government, law 
enforcement agencies, and other appropriate entities.
SEC. 4. <<NOTE: 42 USC 14165b.>> BLUE ALERT COORDINATOR; 
                    GUIDELINES.

    (a) <<NOTE: Assignment.>>  Coordination Within Department of 
Justice.--The Attorney General shall assign an existing officer of the 
Department of Justice to act as the national coordinator of the Blue 
Alert communications network.

    (b) Duties of the Coordinator.--The Coordinator shall--
            (1) provide assistance to States and units of local 
        government that are using Blue Alert plans;
            (2) establish voluntary guidelines for States and units of 
        local government to use in developing Blue Alert plans that will 
        promote compatible and integrated Blue Alert plans throughout 
        the United States, including--
                    (A) a list of the resources necessary to establish a 
                Blue Alert plan;
                    (B) criteria for evaluating whether a situation 
                warrants issuing a Blue Alert;
                    (C) guidelines to protect the privacy, dignity, 
                independence, and autonomy of any law enforcement 
                officer who may be the subject of a Blue Alert and the 
                family of the law enforcement officer;
                    (D) guidelines that a Blue Alert should only be 
                issued with respect to a law enforcement officer if--
                          (i) the law enforcement agency involved--
                                    (I) confirms--
                                            (aa) the death or serious 
                                        injury of the law enforcement 
                                        officer; or
                                            (bb) the attack on the law 
                                        enforcement officer and that 
                                        there is an indication of the 
                                        death or serious injury of the 
                                        officer; or
                                    (II) concludes that the law 
                                enforcement officer is missing in 
                                connection with the officer's official 
                                duties;
                          (ii) there is an indication of serious injury 
                      to or death of the law enforcement officer;
                          (iii) the suspect involved has not been 
                      apprehended; and
                          (iv) there is sufficient descriptive 
                      information of the suspect involved and any 
                      relevant vehicle and tag numbers;
                    (E) guidelines that a Blue Alert should only be 
                issued with respect to a threat to cause death or 
                serious injury to a law enforcement officer if--
                          (i) a law enforcement agency involved confirms 
                      that the threat is imminent and credible;
                          (ii) at the time of receipt of the threat, the 
                      suspect is wanted by a law enforcement agency;
                          (iii) the suspect involved has not been 
                      apprehended; and

[[Page 129 STAT. 194]]

                          (iv) there is sufficient descriptive 
                      information of the suspect involved and any 
                      relevant vehicle and tag numbers;
                    (F) guidelines--
                          (i) that information should be provided to the 
                      National Crime Information Center database 
                      operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
                      under section 534 of title 28, United States Code, 
                      and any relevant crime information repository of 
                      the State involved, relating to--
                                    (I) a law enforcement officer who is 
                                seriously injured or killed in the line 
                                of duty; or
                                    (II) an imminent and credible threat 
                                to cause the serious injury or death of 
                                a law enforcement officer;
                          (ii) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  that a Blue 
                      Alert should, to the maximum extent practicable 
                      (as determined by the Coordinator in consultation 
                      with law enforcement agencies of States and units 
                      of local governments), be limited to the 
                      geographic areas most likely to facilitate the 
                      apprehension of the suspect involved or which the 
                      suspect could reasonably reach, which should not 
                      be limited to State lines;
                          (iii) for law enforcement agencies of States 
                      or units of local government to develop plans to 
                      communicate information to neighboring States to 
                      provide for seamless communication of a Blue 
                      Alert; and
                          (iv) providing that a Blue Alert should be 
                      suspended when the suspect involved is apprehended 
                      or when the law enforcement agency involved 
                      determines that the Blue Alert is no longer 
                      effective; and
                    (G) guidelines for--
                          (i) the issuance of Blue Alerts through the 
                      network; and
                          (ii) the extent of the dissemination of alerts 
                      issued through the network;
            (3) <<NOTE: Protocols. Time period.>>  develop protocols for 
        efforts to apprehend suspects that address activities during the 
        period beginning at the time of the initial notification of a 
        law enforcement agency that a suspect has not been apprehended 
        and ending at the time of apprehension of a suspect or when the 
        law enforcement agency involved determines that the Blue Alert 
        is no longer effective, including protocols regulating--
                    (A) the use of public safety communications;
                    (B) command center operations; and
                    (C) incident review, evaluation, debriefing, and 
                public information procedures;
            (4) work with States to ensure appropriate regional 
        coordination of various elements of the network;
            (5) <<NOTE: Establishment.>>  establish an advisory group to 
        assist States, units of local government, law enforcement 
        agencies, and other entities involved in the network with 
        initiating, facilitating, and promoting Blue Alert plans, which 
        shall include--
                    (A) to the maximum extent practicable, 
                representation from the various geographic regions of 
                the United States; and
                    (B) members who are--

[[Page 129 STAT. 195]]

                          (i) representatives of a law enforcement 
                      organization representing rank-and-file officers;
                          (ii) representatives of other law enforcement 
                      agencies and public safety communications;
                          (iii) broadcasters, first responders, 
                      dispatchers, and radio station personnel; and
                          (iv) representatives of any other individuals 
                      or organizations that the Coordinator determines 
                      are necessary to the success of the network;
            (6) act as the nationwide point of contact for--
                    (A) the development of the network; and
                    (B) regional coordination of Blue Alerts through the 
                network; and
            (7) determine--
                    (A) what procedures and practices are in use for 
                notifying law enforcement and the public when--
                          (i) a law enforcement officer is killed or 
                      seriously injured in the line of duty;
                          (ii) a law enforcement officer is missing in 
                      connection with the officer's official duties; and
                          (iii) an imminent and credible threat to kill 
                      or seriously injure a law enforcement officer is 
                      received; and
                    (B) which of the procedures and practices are 
                effective and that do not require the expenditure of 
                additional resources to implement.

    (c) Limitations.--
            (1) Voluntary participation.--The guidelines established 
        under subsection (b)(2), protocols developed under subsection 
        (b)(3), and other programs established under subsection (b), 
        shall not be mandatory.
            (2) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  Dissemination of information.--
        The guidelines established under subsection (b)(2) shall, to the 
        maximum extent practicable (as determined by the Coordinator in 
        consultation with law enforcement agencies of States and units 
        of local government), provide that appropriate information 
        relating to a Blue Alert is disseminated to the appropriate 
        officials of law enforcement agencies, public health agencies, 
        and other agencies.
            (3) Privacy and civil liberties protections.--The guidelines 
        established under subsection (b) shall--
                    (A) provide mechanisms that ensure that Blue Alerts 
                comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local 
                privacy laws and regulations; and
                    (B) include standards that specifically provide for 
                the protection of the civil liberties, including the 
                privacy, of law enforcement officers who are seriously 
                injured or killed in the line of duty, is missing in 
                connection with the officer's official duties, or who 
                are threatened with death or serious injury, and the 
                families of the officers.

    (d) Cooperation With Other Agencies.--The Coordinator shall 
cooperate with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of 
Transportation, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, 
and appropriate offices of the Department of Justice in carrying out 
activities under this Act.
    (e) Restrictions on Coordinator.--The Coordinator may not--

[[Page 129 STAT. 196]]

            (1) perform any official travel for the sole purpose of 
        carrying out the duties of the Coordinator;
            (2) lobby any officer of a State regarding the funding or 
        implementation of a Blue Alert plan; or
            (3) host a conference focused solely on the Blue Alert 
        program that requires the expenditure of Federal funds.

    (f) Reports.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of 
this Act, and annually thereafter, the Coordinator shall submit to 
Congress a report on the activities of the Coordinator and the 
effectiveness and status of the Blue Alert plans that are in effect or 
being developed.

    Approved May 19, 2015.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 665:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 161 (2015):
            Apr. 30, considered and passed Senate.
            May 12, considered and passed House.
DAILY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS (2015):
            May 19, Presidential remarks.

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