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June 25, 2010

Alert system for suspects in crimes against police

Gov. Martin O'Malley announced today that he was speeding up the implementation of an alert system to notify the public when police are searching for suspects in violent crimes against law enforcement officers. The move comes a few weeks after police spent days searching for suspects in the fatal shooting of off-duty trooper Wesley Brown in Prince George's County.

The so-called "Blue Alert" will "rapidly disseminate information" to assist in "locating and apprehending an offender suspected of killing or seriously injuring a law enforcement officer, whose disappearances [sic] poses a serious threat." It was sponsored by Del. Curt Anderson and was set to go into effect on Oct. 1, but O'Malley's executive order speeds up that timeframe to enact it immediately.

The system joins the Amber Alert system, designed to locate missing children, and the Silver Alert for missing seniors. The latter was implemented in 2009.

"We’ve dedicated every resource available to ensuring our officers have the equipment they need, the best available crime fighting tools, and the latest technology to keep Maryland families safe," O'Malley said in a statement.  "This alert system will ensure that if any of our law enforcement officers are harmed, the fugitive will be captured swiftly and brought to justice.”

I'm interested to see how the system will be implemented. Personally, I've only seen an Amber Alert once - during the Olympics - and never a Silver Alert. And in the case of Brown's shooting, police disseminated information through the media about a person of interest but didn't have - or at least didn't release - a name of a suspect until he had been picked up. Perhaps the intended use is to help further spread the word that a reward is being offered.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:08 AM | | Comments (5)


You know, this kind of irks me. How is it that if someone harms a police officer it's worse than if they harm a citizen?

Are the lives and welfare of citizens worse less than police? It would see so since we don't have alerts for harming regular citizens and that those criminals will be brought to justice swiftly.

I understand the missing persons alert - but this just seems insulting to me as a citizen that thanks to MD law is denied the right of self defense.

These are the same guys who run the MARC trains, right?

(reCAPTCHA: "urinated very" - seems oddly appropriate)

Gov. Martin O'Malley should be ashamed. This is deeply offensive. The process should be the same no matter who the victim is!!!

I can't believe there are people who object catching cop killers.


What I was trying to express was that it seems that someone who kills or injures a policeman is somehow worse than someone who kills or injures a citizen.

Are they? Please explain why a policeman deserves justice more than any other citizen?

I think the idea is a great one. Hopefully, other states will adopt this as well. Cop killers are the "baddest of the bad". Time is of the essence.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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