(NASHVILLE, May 18, 2011) – At a ceremony in his Capitol office, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law HB 724/SB 655, the “Blue Alert Act.” The ceremony was attended by Senator Jim Tracy (R—Shelbyville) and Representative Vince Dean (R—Chattanooga)—the authors of the legislation.
The new law allows the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to utilize the existing “Amber Alert” infrastructure to notify the public in an efficient and timely manner about violent criminals who have either severely injured or killed a law enforcement officer. The law costs nothing to Tennessee taxpayers, yet it greatly enhances the information available to the public about violent criminals who are at-large in their communities.
Upon signing the bill into law, Gov. Haslam stated, “Tennessee is blessed with police officers and law enforcement officials committed to the safety of our communities.” Haslam continued, “This law gives us the ability to swiftly notify the public so we can more quickly respond to such attacks on our law enforcement.”
Rep. Dean, who developed the original language for the bill added, “As a retired law officer, I believe this will be an invaluable tool for apprehending criminals who commit heinous acts against our police men and women. This law uses technology to inform the public so they may be vigilant after an officer has been harmed in the line of duty.” The East Ridge conservative concluded, “My community knows firsthand the heartache of losing a member of our police force. This law will help us swiftly enlist the public, capture violent criminals, and hopefully save lives.”
“Police officers are an invaluable resource to our communities,” remarked Sen. Tracy who guided the legislation through the Senate. “I am very pleased this bill has been signed into law. A criminal who harms law enforcement officers won’t think twice about harming average citizens. This bill provides a quick way to get this information posted so law enforcement can catch the criminal to bring them to justice and save lives.”
The bill passed the House on April 25, 2011 with unanimous bipartisan support. Similarly, in the Senate, the measure passed unanimously on April 28, 2011. The full text of the legislation may be accessed here.