Cardin Visits HPD for Blue Alert Act

Cardin Visits HPD for Blue Alert Act

"It's a very good feeling to know we have legislators at the federal level that are looking out for law enforcement. And not just here in Maryland, but you know, all of us, all across the country that wear the uniform,” said Captain Paul Kifer, Hagerstown Police Department.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Just six years ago, Officer Christopher Nicholson of the Smithsburg Police Department was shot and killed while responding to help the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

"Smithsburg is literally a few miles from the Pennsylvania boarder. If that suspect was able to flee and get into Pennsylvania that's where this law would be great assistance to us," said Captain Paul Kifer of the Hagerstown Police Department.

The law Captain Kifer is talking about is the Blue Alert Act.

Modeled after the amber and silver alerts, the Blue Alert System would be used to quickly get information to law enforcement agencies, the public and the media in situations like the shooting death of Officer Nicholson.

It could be a matter of just months before every state participates in the Blue Alert System. Something Senator Ben Cardin has felt strongly about implementing nationwide.

He stopped by the Hagerstown Police Station to show his support for those who wear a badge and uniform.

"I heard from law enforcement, they were very concerned about keeping police officers safe. And information, timely information being shared with the public can really help," said Senator Cardin.

Maryland already uses the blue alert. So does Virginia. But most states do not. Pennsylvania and West Virginia are among those yet to implement the program.

"From where we stand today, we can be in Pennsylvania or West Virginia in a matter of minutes. Virginia in a matter of about 20 minutes,” said Captain Kifer. “So just from where we're standing today, to get that alert system out to West Virginia or Pennsylvania, would be key for their safety."

This act was introduced back in February, and Senator Cardin says he expects it to be signed into legislation by the President before this year ends.

The Senator's effort to get the Act passed is a bi-partisan one, and it has already passed in the house.

Captain Paul Kifer said he understands the job they sign up for is a dangerous one and he also said the most dangerous part of what they do are everyday traffic stops. So the effort behind the National Blue Alert Act is something he said, he appreciates.

"It's a very good feeling to know we have legislators at the federal level that are looking out for law enforcement. And not just here in Maryland, but you know, all of us, all across the country that wear the uniform,” said Captain Kifer.

The hope of the nationwide use of the Blue Alert is to not only keep the public safe, but also protect those who protect and serve.
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