DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -In a move designed to prevent what some call an attack on our system of justice, the Oklahoma Legislature has unanimously approved the creation of a 'Blue Alert' system.
This will set up a way to notify the public when an officer is shot or killed. The bill's author said he was inspired to act after the shooting death of an officer in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as the ambush killings of two NYPD officers as they sat in their squad car. Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill into law Tuesday.
The Blue Alert is similar to Amber and Silver Alerts, but the Legislature wants to add injured or killed law enforcement to that list.
Thousands of cars drive by highway billboards every day and even more people have a smartphone. This is where we see Amber and Silver Alerts.
Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney is glad to see the State of Oklahoma recognizing that law enforcement needs to be included in that group, because he's tired of seeing officers get shot every day.
"It's actually an assault on all of us. When an armed officer is killed in a line of duty, it's an assault on society itself," Sheriff McKinney said.
Sheriff McKinney says the technology available to put out these notifications will play a big part in the success of the bill.
"We share a lot of Amber Alert systems on our Facebook, on the Stephens County Sheriff's Facebook and I get a lot of people sharing that from there. And obviously we get the Amber Alerts on our cell phones, so the quickness that this gets out, the faster it gets out, the more chances we have to protect society," Sheriff McKinney said.
There is some concern that this will add to a list of alerts that people are already getting, such as Silver Alerts, weather alerts or Facebook notifications. But Duncan Police Detective Dustin Smith hopes people will understand the urgency.
"Once this becomes mainstream, people get used to it. I don't think it will be an issue honestly. I think people will pay attention to what they need to pay attention to," Det. Smith said.
Oklahoma is now the 28th state to implement a Blue Alert system.