Section 32-2-120

Creation of system; activation of alert; powers and duties; boundaries of alert area; termination of alert; liability.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) ALERT SYSTEM. The Blue Alert system.

(2) DEPARTMENT. The Department of Public Safety.

(3) DIRECTOR. The Director of the Department of Public Safety.

(4) LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. A law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the search for a suspect in a case involving the death or serious injury of a peace officer or an agency employing a peace officer who is missing in the line of duty.

(5) PEACE OFFICER. A person who is certified to exercise the power of arrest under the laws of this state.

(b) There is established a statewide alert system known as Blue Alert which shall be developed and implemented by the director, who is the statewide coordinator of the alert system.

(c) The alert system may be activated under either of the following circumstances:

(1) When a suspect of a crime involving the death or serious injury of a peace officer has not been apprehended and law enforcement personnel have determined that the suspect may be a serious threat to the public.

(2) When a peace officer becomes missing while in the line of duty under circumstances warranting concern for the safety of the peace officer.

(d) The director shall do all of the following:

(1) Adopt rules necessary to ensure the proper implementation of the alert system, including instructions on the procedures for activating and deactivating the alert system.

(2) Prescribe forms for use by local law enforcement agencies in requesting activation of the alert system.

(e) The department may do any of the following:

(1) Recruit public and commercial television, radio, cable, print, and other media, private commercial entities, state or local governmental entities, the public, and other appropriate persons to assist in developing and implementing the alert system.

(2) Enter into agreements with participants in the alert system to provide necessary support for the alert system.

(f) A law enforcement agency participating in the alert system shall do all of the following:

(1) Cooperate with the department and assist in developing and implementing the alert system.

(2) Establish a plan for providing relevant information to its officers, investigators, or employees, as appropriate, once the alert system has been activated.

(3) Utilize a rapid response telephone system that alerts residents in a targeted area.

(g) Upon notification by a law enforcement agency that a suspect in a case involving death or serious injury of a peace officer has not been apprehended and may be a serious threat to the public, the director shall activate the alert system and notify the appropriate participants in the alert system, as established by rule, if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) A law enforcement agency believes that a suspect has not been apprehended.

(2) A law enforcement agency believes that the suspect may be a serious threat to the public.

(3) Sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the suspect.

(h) Upon notification by a law enforcement agency that a peace officer is missing while in the line of duty under circumstances warranting concern for the safety of the peace officer, the director shall activate the alert system and notify the appropriate participants in the alert system, as established by rule, if sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the missing peace officer.

(i) The area of the alert may be less than statewide if the director determines that the nature of the event makes it probable that the suspect did not leave a certain geographic location.

(j) Before requesting activation of the alert system, a law enforcement agency shall verify that the criteria described under subsections (g) or (h) have been satisfied. The law enforcement agency shall assess the appropriate boundaries of the alert based on the nature of the suspect and the circumstances surrounding the crime or the last known location of the missing police officer.

(k) The director shall terminate any activation of the alert system with respect to a particular incident if either of the following circumstances occur:

(1) The suspect or peace officer is located or the incident is otherwise resolved.

(2) The director determines that the alert system is no longer an effective tool for locating the suspect or peace officer.

(l) A law enforcement agency shall notify the director immediately when the suspect is located and in custody or when the peace officer is found.

(m) An entity or individual involved in the dissemination of an alert generated through the alert system pursuant to this section shall not be liable for any civil damages arising from such dissemination absent unreasonable, wanton, willful, or intentional conduct.

(Act 2012-178 , p. 280, §1.)