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New “Blue Alerts” May Be Coming to EAS

To tell public about imminent threats to law enforcement, among other things

The FCC will consider adding a dedicated event code, BLU, for Blue Alerts — and whether a dedicated code can enable nationwide delivery of those alerts.

On its agenda for the June 22 meeting is a notice of proposed rulemaking to that effect. It would amend the Emergency Alert System so that alerts “can deliver actionable information to the public when a law enforcement officer is killed, seriously injured, missing in connection with his or her official duties, or if there is an imminent and credible threat to a law enforcement officer.”

Chairman Ajit Pai wrote in a blog post that if the item is approved, “we’ll then seek public input on whether the EAS is the right way to deliver Blue Alerts. We’ll also explore whether a dedicated EAS code can enable the uniform, nationwide delivery of Blue Alerts to the public.”

Pai said he previewed the concept at the U.S. Department of Justice recently, and compared it to the familiar Amber Alerts and extreme weather warnings.

“If a violent suspect is in your immediate community, Blue Alerts could give you instructions on what to do,” Pai wrote. “These instructions could help you stay safe and help supply time-sensitive information to authorities if a suspect is sighted.”