What is a Law Enforcement Blue Alert? & How Does It Work?

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

What is a Law Enforcement Blue Alert

What is a law enforcement blue alert, and how does it work?

Research links brain imbalances to increased aggression, often causing a sense of losing control accompanied by fear and stress. Given this intrinsic human nature, law enforcement agents are prone to experience work-related physical injuries, especially when dealing with disruptive individuals on duty.

As a result of these situations, law enforcement has developed a safe call protocol and an emergency alert system.

Law enforcement employs these protocols to notify the public and the media, assisting in the swift identification and apprehension of criminals, especially in cases involving an injured or killed officer.

Definition of a Law Enforcement Blue Alert


The term blue alert signifies the activation of a law enforcement warning, indicating an ongoing search for a suspect who aggressively assaulted an enforcer.

This safe call approach takes effect in Tennessee, Missouri, and Mississippi and spans multiple states within the US.

The Role of Law Enforcement Blue Alerts


Now that we have grasped the meaning of a blue alert, how do we understand the idea of a code blue alert?

  • The National Blue Alert Network supports the blue alert warning, with its primary function being the swift transmission of critical information about a suspect who has assaulted or killed an officer and is now fleeing.
  • Additionally, when law enforcement knows the suspect has lethal equipment, the alert goes off.
  • The objective of the blue alert is to rapidly relay and broadcast facts to the public, including the suspect’s description, the car they are driving, license plate numbers, and any other accessible identifying data. This public safety alert holds significant importance since it directly affects the overall security of the community.

Activation Criteria and Process

1. How Does a Blue Alert Work? Conditions That Trigger a Blue Alert

Example: Different types of DPS in texas

Each country and state has an emergency alert system to provide timely public information.

There are several types of emergency alert notifications in the United States, and they are mostly consistent across states. These warnings encompass a variety of alerts, including:

  • Silver
  • Amber
  • Yellow
  • Feather
  • Blue

We understand that the purpose of a blue alert is to help catch a suspect who intentionally harmed a law enforcement officer and prevent more harm.

2. Activation Criteria


The active blue alerts notify and advise the public about a potential threat. To gain insight into the blue warning, let’s review the criteria:

  • A law enforcement officer either sustained a grave injury or was subject to murder while on duty.
  • The suspect/s threatens to severely harm and attack or murder a member of law enforcement.
  • A law enforcement officer has gone missing while carrying out official obligations.
  • The suspect/s endangers the public or other law enforcement agents.

Please note that in addition to these criteria, it’s important to remember that:

  • law enforcement has not yet captured or apprehended the alleged suspect/s.
  • There is enough exhaustive data regarding the suspect, including car and license plate details.
  • The local police agency or authority must advise and authorize the blue alert.

3. Activation Process

Source: media.wbir.com
Source: sunherald.com

Having acquainted ourselves with the criteria, let’s try to get a more detailed understanding of the process.

  • Meeting the conditions outlined above for the blue alert, you can promptly contact the governing body issuing the warning.
  • The regulatory authority issuing the warning will validate the submitted information to determine if the conditions were met.
Quick Fact: The Clearinghouse serves as the governing body for the blue alert system in Indiana, USA. It is the principal database for all records about lost children and critically endangered adults.
  • Complete the blue alert request form (note that the format may vary in each state).Here is an example of a request form in Texas and in North Dakota.
  • The regulatory authority will collaborate with the investigating agency to gather information for the alert.
    • They will proceed to notify law enforcement agencies across the state.
    • Following that, authorities will display all pertinent information about the offender/s, including vehicle details on road signs, lottery machines, radio stations, television, wireless devices, telephones, overhead highway message signs, and other secondary alerting methods.

Here, you can find some examples of Blue Alert notifications.

  • Finally, when the governing body receives word that law enforcement has captured the suspect/s, it will inform the relevant parties and deactivate the warning alert.

Examples of States With Blue Alert Plans, Working on Getting Passed

Source: cops.usdoj.gov

The implementation of the Blue Alert Act occurred nationwide in 2016, leading to the creation of the National Blue Alert Network.

This response stemmed from the tragic incident involving two New York City police officers who were ambushed and killed on December 20, 2014.

In 2015, Congress passed the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act as a tribute to these exceptional police officers.

As of now, 37 states in the US have adopted a Blue Alert Plan. These states comprise of

1. Arizona 11. Indiana 21 Montana 31. South Dakota
2. Alabama 12. Iowa

22. New Hampshire

32. Tennessee
3. California 13. Kansas  23. New Jersey 33. Utah
4. Colorado 14. Kentucky 24. New York 34. Texas
5. Connecticut 15. Maryland 25. North Carolina 35. Vermont
6. Delaware 16. Maine 26. North Dakota 36. Virginia
7. Florida 17. Michigan 27. Ohio 37. Washington
8. Georgia 18. Minnesota 28. Oklahoma
9. Idaho 19. Mississippi 29. Rhode Island
10. Illinois 20. Missouri 30. South Carolina

You can refer to this map for a clearer view of the states with and without a Blue Alert action plan.

Additionally, as of 2022, Pennsylvania remains under pending legislation regarding the Blue Alert.

For more information about blue alert laws, you can check this resource to get an overview of states with blue alert legislation and their corresponding existing provisions.


We now possess a clearer understanding of what is a law enforcement blue alert. Notably, we also learned that Pennsylvania is presently working on updating its blue alert legislation for implementation.

Also, we recognize that the creation of this safe call warning alert was to honor the sacrifices of law enforcement personnel in line with their duty as they ensure the public’s protection.

5/5 - (2 votes)