ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has scheduled a statewide test this Thursday of the Minnesota Blue Alert System. The legislature established Blue Alert 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 no Blue Alert activations since its inception.
The BCA is activating the Blue Alert to test the FCC’s Blue Alert-specific code which was implemented earlier this year, and the Department of Public Safety’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Neither have been used for a Blue Alert before. Prior to this code being implemented, Minnesota would have used a more generic code for an alert.
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.
Blue Alert Test
Date: Thursday, August 15, 2019
Time: 1:10 p.m.
Language in the alert:
************ THIS IS A BLUE ALERT TEST ************
If this had been an actual Blue Alert, details of the incident would be included on this alert along with any photos, suspect information, vehicle information and any information pertinent to public awareness and public safety. This is only a test of the Minnesota Blue Alert Plan.
NO ACTION IS REQUIRED AT THIS TIME.
What Happens When a Blue Alert is Issued
A Blue Alert includes many of the same types of information as 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.
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.*
*Thursday’s test will not include electronic highway message signs.
“Like other alerts issued in Minnesota, Blue Alerts add a massive resource – the watchful eyes of tens of thousands of Minnesotans -- to an investigation,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “When a suspect could be fleeing in any direction, Blue Alerts can be a critical tool.”
Blue Alert Criteria
For a 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:
The requesting agency confirms that the threat is imminent and credible, and
At the time of the receipt of the threat there is a probable cause pick‐up and arrest or an active warrant, and
Any suspect involved has not been apprehended, and
There is sufficient descriptive information about the suspect(s), including any relevant vehicle and license tag information.
The BCA developed Blue Alert at the direction of the Minnesota Legislature (Minnesota Stat. §626.96) and in partnership with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association and local law enforcement agencies.