Blue Alert System signed into law Thursday

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by Tami Hoey

Video report by Javier Soto

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 4 at 10:30 AM

PHOENIX -- Arizona will join 18 other states Thursday in implementing a new emergency alert system that will help notify the public about dangerous fugitive suspects who killed or injured law enforcement officers.

It's called the Blue Alert System, and is similar to the AMBER Alert system, which is activated when a child is abducted. The system will  provide information about the suspects on televisions, highway signs, cell phones and on social media.

On Thursday morning, Governor Jan Brewer will sign the Blue Alert bill into law. That will make our state the 19th state nationwide that takes part in the Blue Alert System.

Jan Blaser-Upchurch has been leading the charge to protect officers since her husband, John Blaser, became the first DPS line supervisor killed while on duty. He was struck by a drunk driver on Aug. 31, 1990.

"Even after all these years, it still brings emotions, for sure," she said. "You think that he was 36 years old and we had just been married three years. Our life was beginning and then his was suddenly taken."

Her hard work helped lead to the Arizona Blue Alert.

"There can be a cohesive communication network so that we can identify who those perpetrators are that take off after they’ve injured or killed a law enforcement (officer)," Blaser-Upchurch said. "It’s an easy mechanism."

It’s also a free system, thanks to a collaboration spearheaded by the Department of Public Safety. So it will not cost taxpayers any money.

So far, nationally, the system seems to be working. "It's been almost100 percent," says Tom Berry with the Blue Alert System. "We have one outstanding in California. All the others have been caught. We had a couple in Florida, Texas, Ohio. All have been caught because of the Blue Alert System.

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