Representative spearheads creation of nationwide ‘blue alert’

May 15, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 5 p.m. May 15, 2012

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert — Issaquah’s lawmaker in Congress — applauded the passage of legislation to create a National Blue Alert, a nationwide system to inform the public about people suspected of injuring or killing law enforcement officers.

Reichert, a former King County sheriff and Auburn Republican, cosponsored the National Blue Alert Act of 2012. The bill passed the House of Representatives, 394-1, on Tuesday, National Peace Officer Memorial Day.

“Creating the National Blue Alert system is a crucial step forward in protecting our communities and preventing further tragedy,” he said in a statement. “When a criminal murders a law enforcement officer, speedy apprehension is essential to protecting the public, preventing further loss of life and returning peace to communities.”

In November 2009, a lone gunman entered a Lakewood coffee shop and assassinated Sgt. Mark Renninger, and officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards.

Renninger’s widow, Kim Renninger, supported the legislation.

“Unfortunately, in the last couple of years there’s been way too many law enforcement deaths similar to my husband’s murder,” she said in a statement. “Each one has deeply affected me and is why I’m now stepping up and asking that the National Blue Alert bill be implemented to protect the citizens of this great country from perpetrators who are on the run after severely injuring or killing a law enforcement officer.”

The legislation directs the attorney general to establish a National Blue Alert communications network within the U.S. Department of Justice to disseminate information after a law enforcement officer is killed or injured in the line of duty.

In March, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a state “blue alert” measure into law.

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