Fatal officer shooting comes three weeks prior to Blue Alert implemenation
NEW BLOOMFIELD —
Clinton police officer Gary Michael was shot and killed during a traffic stop less than a month before Missouri’s Blue Alert System is scheduled to go into effect.
Signed by Gov. Eric Greitens July 6, the Blue Alert System is a statewide program that will aid in the identification and location of any individual suspected of killing or seriously wounding any local, state, or federal law enforcement. This law is expected to go into effect on August 28.
Missouri will be the 28th state to adopt such an alert system.
The Blue Alert System, which functions similarly to an Amber Alert, will develop into regions to provide the system, according to the law. Alerts will be sent via social media and e-mail to expedite information, according to Capt. John Hotz of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
"I know it is a priority with Gov. Greitens," Hotz said. "It would be a very effective system."
Participation in a blue alert system is optional for law enforcement agencies. If a killing or serious wounding of a law enforcement officer occurs within the jurisdiction of a region that opted out of the service, they must notify the Department of Public Safety.
The Department of Public Safety is responsible for notifying local media in the region.
Two officers have died in Missouri in 2017, contributing to over 600 officer deaths to date in the state.
There have been 74 officer fatalities in the United States in 2017, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks officer deaths. The toll is close to the 75 officer fatalities during this time in 2016.