Broadcasters and radio listeners have become familiar with Amber Alerts, which warn the public that a child is missing and presumed to be in danger, and Silver Alerts, which raise alarms about missing, endangered senior citizens. Now, the FCC's Emergency Alert System is adding a new color to its spectrum—the Blue Alert.
As Womble Bond Dickinson's Rebecca Jacobs Goldman explains in Radio Ink, the Blue Alert "will alert radio listeners and others to an imminent and credible threat involving the death or serious injury of a law enforcement officer, threats to cause death or serious injury to a law enforcement officer, or missing law enforcement officers, over the EAS and Wireless Emergency Alert system." A Blue Alert alarm only is issued when a threat to a police officer is both credible and imminent, and the suspect remains at large.
Goldman explains that the Blue Alert plan was created by the 2015 federal Blue Alert Act, in which Congress directed the creation of such an alert in order to better protect law enforcement officers and the general public. Broadcasters must update and test their equipment and software to implement the new Blue Alert code within the next 12 months.
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