Minnesota BCA schedules test of Blue Alert System Thursday

Minnesota BCA schedules test of Blue Alert System Thursday
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has scheduled a statewide test Thursday at 1:10 p.m. of the Minnesota Blue Alert System. (Source: AP)

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has scheduled a statewide test Thursday at 1:10 p.m. of the Minnesota Blue Alert System.

The legislature established the system in 2015 as a tool to help locate suspects when a local, state or federal officer is killed or seriously wounded in the line of duty. There have been zero Blue Alert activations since the system was established.

The BCA is testing the system to ensure it activates as expected and to help Minnesotans become familiar with what they would see and hear if a Blue Alert was issued.

What happens when a Blue Alert is issued:

A Blue Alert includes many of the same types of information that is typically provided in an AMBER Alert, including detailed vehicle information, information about the suspect and circumstances of the incident.

During a real Blue Alert activation, anyone who sees a vehicle or person(s) matching the information provided in the Alert is urged to dial 911 as soon as it is safe to do so. Members of the public should not approach or attempt to apprehend the subject of a Blue Alert.

How will I know if a Blue Alert is issued?

The information in Thursday’s test, and in an actual Blue Alert, will be distributed in several ways:

  • Email, text message and/or fax to Minnesota media and subscribers to the Minnesota Crime Alert Network
  • A recorded Emergency Alert System message
  • Electronic highway message signs activated regionally or statewide, depending on information known to law enforcement at the time.

** Note: Thursday’s test will not include electronic highway message signs.

When will a Blue Alert be issued?

For Blue Alert activation to occur, the following criteria must be met.

  • A law enforcement officer must have been killed or seriously wounded by an offender(s) or is missing while in the line of duty under circumstances evidencing concern for the officer’s safety.
  • The investigating agency must determine that the offender(s) poses a serious risk to the public or other officers and dissemination of available information to the public may help avert further harm or assist in apprehending the offender.
  • A detailed description of the offender’s vehicle or other means of escape, including at least a partial license plate number, must be available to provide to the public.
  • The lead investigating law enforcement agency must request that a Blue Alert be issued.
  • A Blue Alert may also be activated when there is a threat to cause death or serious injury to a law enforcement officer and:
    • a. The requesting agency confirms that the threat is imminent and credible, and
    • b. At the time of the receipt of the threat there is a probable cause pick‐up and arrest or an active warrant, and
    • c. Any suspect involved has not been apprehended, and
    • d. There is sufficient descriptive information about the suspect(s), including any relevant vehicle and license tag information.

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