RAFAEL RAMOS AND WENJIAN LIU NATIONAL BLUE ALERT ACT OF 2015; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 64
(Senate - April 30, 2015)

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[Pages S2587-S2589]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




      RAFAEL RAMOS AND WENJIAN LIU NATIONAL BLUE ALERT ACT OF 2015

  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to the consideration of Calendar No. 33, S. 665.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 665) 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.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill.
  Mr. CASSIDY. I ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third 
time and the Senate proceed to vote on passage.

[[Page S2588]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading and was read 
the third time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The bill having been read the third time, the 
question is, Shall the bill pass?
  The bill (S. 665) was passed, as follows:

                                 S. 665

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu 
     National Blue Alert Act of 2015''.

     SEC. 2. 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.

     SEC. 3. 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. BLUE ALERT COORDINATOR; GUIDELINES.

       (a) 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
       (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) 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) 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) 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--
       (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) 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

[[Page S2589]]

     Justice in carrying out activities under this Act.
       (e) Restrictions on Coordinator.--The Coordinator may not--
       (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.

  Mr. CASSIDY. I ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or 
debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          ____________________