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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     112-478

======================================================================



 
                    NATIONAL BLUE ALERT ACT OF 2012

                                _______
                                

  May 11, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 365]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 365) 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, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that 
the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     4
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     4
Hearings.........................................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     5
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     5
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     6
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     8
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     8
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     8
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     8

                             The Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``National Blue Alert Act of 2012''.

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 
        relating to the serious injury or death of a law enforcement 
        officer in the line of duty sent through the network.
          (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(6)).
          (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, the Commonwealth of 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 the 
                                line of duty;
                          (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--
                          (i) that information relating to a law 
                        enforcement officer who is seriously injured or 
                        killed in the line of duty 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;
                          (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
                  (F) 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 a law 
                enforcement officer is killed or seriously injured in 
                the line of duty; 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 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--
          (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.

SEC. 5. GRANT PROGRAM FOR SUPPORT OF BLUE ALERT PLANS.

  Section 1701(b) of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796dd(b)) is amended--
          (1) in paragraph (16), by striking ``and'' at the end;
          (2) by redesignating paragraph (17) as paragraph (18); and
          (3) by inserting after paragraph (16) the following:
          ``(17) to assist a State in the development or enhancement of 
        programs and activities in support of a Blue Alert plan and the 
        network (as those terms are defined in section 2 of the 
        National Blue Alert Act of 2012), including--
                  ``(A) developing and implementing education and 
                training programs, and associated materials, relating 
                to Blue Alert plans;
                  ``(B) developing and implementing law enforcement 
                programs, and associated equipment, relating to Blue 
                Alert plans; and
                  ``(C) developing and implementing new technologies to 
                improve the communication of Blue Alerts; and.''.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  Section 1001(a)(11) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act 
of 1968 is amended by adding at the end the following:
  ``(C)(i) Of amounts authorized to be appropriated to carry out part Q 
in any fiscal year, $10,000,000 is authorized to be appropriated for 
grants for the purposes described in section 1701(b)(17).
  ``(ii) Amounts appropriated pursuant to clause (i) shall remain 
available until expended.''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 365 directs the formation of a national Blue Alert 
communications network within the Department of Justice (DOJ) 
to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is 
seriously injured or killed in the line of duty and a suspect 
has not been apprehended. An existing DOJ officer shall act as 
the national coordinator of the Blue Alert communications 
network. The bill sets forth the duties of the national 
coordinator, including 1) encouraging states and local 
governments to develop additional Blue Alert plans, 2) 
establishing voluntary guidelines for states and local 
governments to use in developing such plans, 3) developing 
protocols for efforts to apprehend suspects, and 4) 
establishing an advisory group to assist states, local 
governments, law enforcement agencies, and other entities in 
initiating, facilitating, and promoting Blue Alert plans. The 
bill amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act to 
require the use of public safety and community policing grants 
to assist states in developing and enhancing a Blue Alert plan 
and communications network.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    This bill would encourage and enhance an integrated Blue 
Alert communications network throughout the United States in 
order to disseminate information and speed apprehension of 
violent criminals when a law enforcement officer is seriously 
injured or killed in the line of duty. Blue Alerts would use 
the same infrastructure as Amber Alerts (missing children) and 
Silver Alerts (missing seniors).
    Each year, hundreds of law enforcement officers are killed 
or seriously injured in the line of duty. Despite this, law 
enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day, 
working long and irregular hours in demanding and dangerous 
conditions. These officers run a high risk of being injured or 
killed by the same criminals that prey on us. Since 1791, 
nearly 21,000 law enforcement officers have been killed in the 
line of duty in the United States.
    The Blue Alert system is a cooperative effort among local, 
state and Federal authorities, law enforcement agencies and the 
general public. A Blue Alert provides a description of an 
offender who is still at large and may include a description of 
the offender's vehicle and license plate information.
    The bill directs the Department of Justice to designate a 
Blue Alert national coordinator who will encourage states that 
have not already done so to develop Blue Alert plans and 
establish voluntary guidelines.
    Like Amber Alerts, Blue Alerts help hinder the offender's 
ability to flee and will facilitate a speedy capture. However, 
Blue Alerts further help to eliminate the grave threat which 
each offender poses to the general public and to law 
enforcement personnel.
    Fourteen states currently have Blue Alert networks in 
place, and Ohio will implement its network in June.
    The bill authorizes the use of existing COPS funding to the 
states for Blue Alert implementation, and therefore does not 
increase costs to carry out the program.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
365.

                        Committee Consideration

    On April 25, 2012, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill H.R. 365 favorably reported with an amendment 
in the nature of a substitute by voice vote, a quorum being 
present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 365.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 365, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 10, 2012.
Hon. Lamar Smith, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 365, the 
``National Blue Alert Act of 2012.''
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member




               H.R. 365--National Blue Alert Act of 2012.

    As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on 
                            April 25, 2012.




                                SUMMARY

    H.R. 365 would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to 
establish a national communications network to issue alerts 
(that would be known as ``blue alerts'') when a law enforcement 
officer is killed or seriously injured. The bill also would 
authorize the appropriation of $10 million annually for DOJ to 
make grants to States to cover costs relating to participation 
in the blue alert program.
    Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R. 365 would cost $36 million 
over the 2013-2017 period. Pay-as-you-go procedures do not 
apply to this legislation because it would not affect direct 
spending or revenues.
    H.R. 365 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal 
governments.

                ESTIMATED COST TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

    The estimated budgetary impact of H.R. 365 is shown in the 
following table. The costs of this legislation fall within 
budget function 750 (administration of justice).

                                     By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     2013   2014   2015   2016   2017  2013-2017
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
DOJ Grants
  Authorization Level                                                  10     10     10     10     10       50
  Estimated Outlays                                                     1      4      7      9     10       31

DOJ Administrative Costs
  Estimated Authorization Level                                         1      1      1      1      1        5
  Estimated Outlays                                                     1      1      1      1      1        5

  Total
    Estimated Authorization Level                                      11     11     11     11     11       55
    Estimated Outlays                                                   2      5      8     10     11       36
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: DOJ = Department of Justice.

                           BASIS OF ESTIMATE

    For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 365 will be 
enacted by the end of fiscal year 2012. We assume that the 
necessary amounts will be appropriated near the start of each 
fiscal year and that spending will follow historical patterns 
for similar activities.
    H.R. 365 would authorize the appropriation of $10 million 
for each fiscal year for DOJ to make grants to States to fund 
activities that would support participation in the blue alert 
program. Grants could be used to develop training and education 
programs and to improve communications technologies for the new 
alert program.
    H.R. 365 would require DOJ to establish and promote a 
national communications network to issue alerts when a law 
enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed. Under the 
bill's provisions, the department would develop guidelines and 
protocols for State and local governments that participate in 
the program and provide assistance as necessary to those 
participants. Based on the costs of similar activities, CBO 
estimates that it would cost about $1 million annually for DOJ 
to establish and administer the new program.

                  PAY-AS-YOU-GO CONSIDERATIONS: NONE.

              INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE-SECTOR IMPACT

    H.R. 365 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on State, 
local, or tribal governments.

                         ESTIMATE PREPARED BY:

    Federal Costs: Mark Grabowicz
        Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Melissa 
        Merrell
    Impact on the Private Sector: Paige Piper/Bach

                         ESTIMATE APPROVED BY:

    Theresa Gullo
    Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
365 will encourage and enhance an integrated Blue Alert 
communications network throughout the United States in order to 
disseminate information and speed apprehension of violent 
criminals when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured 
or killed in the line of duty.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 365 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
Sec. 1: Short Title
    Section 1 provides that the short title of H.R. 365 is the 
``National Blue Alert Act of 2012.''
Sec. 2: Definitions
    Section 2 defines certain terms as used in the bill.
Sec. 3: Blue Alert Communications Network
    Section 3 directs the Attorney General to establish a 
national Blue Alert communications network within the 
Department of Justice.
Sec. 4: Blue Alert Coordinator; Guidelines
    Section 4 requires the Attorney General to assign an 
existing officer of the Department of Justice to act as the 
national coordinator of the Blue Alert communications network. 
The Section also sets forth the coordinator's duties and 
limitations.
Sec. 5: Grant Program for Support of Blue Alert Plans
    Section 5 allows the issuance of grants in furtherance of 
Blue Alert plans.
Sec. 6: Authorization of Appropriations
    Section 6 authorizes $10 million per fiscal year to be 
appropriated from existing COPS funding for grants to develop 
and implement training and new technologies related to Blue 
Alert plans.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

              OMNIBUS CRIME CONTROL AND SAFE STREETS ACT 
                                OF 1968



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE I--JUSTICE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            Part J--Funding

                    AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS

    Sec. 1001. (a)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (11)(A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (C)(i) Of amounts authorized to be appropriated to carry out 
part Q in any fiscal year, $10,000,000 is authorized to be 
appropriated for grants for the purposes described in section 
1701(b)(17).
  (ii) Amounts appropriated pursuant to clause (i) shall remain 
available until expended.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


   PART Q--PUBLIC SAFETY AND COMMUNITY POLICING; ``COPS ON THE BEAT''

SEC. 1701. AUTHORITY TO MAKE PUBLIC SAFETY AND COMMUNITY POLICING 
                    GRANTS.

  (a) * * *
  (b) uses of grant amounts.--The purposes for which grants 
made under subsection (a) may be made are--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (16) to support the purchase by a law enforcement 
        agency of no more than 1 service weapon per officer, 
        upon hiring for deployment in community-oriented 
        policing or, if necessary, upon existing officers' 
        initial redeployment to community-oriented policing; 
        [and]
          (17) to assist a State in the development or 
        enhancement of programs and activities in support of a 
        Blue Alert plan and the network (as those terms are 
        defined in section 2 of the National Blue Alert Act of 
        2012), including--
                  (A) developing and implementing education and 
                training programs, and associated materials, 
                relating to Blue Alert plans;
                  (B) developing and implementing law 
                enforcement programs, and associated equipment, 
                relating to Blue Alert plans; and
                  (C) developing and implementing new 
                technologies to improve the communication of 
                Blue Alerts; and
          [(17)] (18) to permit tribal governments receiving 
        direct law enforcement services from the Bureau of 
        Indian Affairs to access the program under this section 
        for use in accordance with paragraphs (1) through (16).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *