CONTINUING COVERAGE: What’s a Blue Alert and Why Was it Sent?

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Around 1:40 p.m. this afternoon a Blue Alert was sent to cell phones across the state. Making it the first 

We have reports of people receiving the alert in all corners of the state. 

According to the Department of Emergency Services, they received a request from the Bismarck Police Department at about 1:00 p.m. that a Blue Alert be issued. They requested that alert be sent statewide. 

Following that request, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is a department within the Attorney General’s Office, and the North Dakota Highway Patrol come to the Emergency Operations Center at the Department of Emergency Services in Bismarck. 

Those two agencies then look at the request and cross reference that with the criteria for issuing a Blue Alert. That criteria is as follows: 

  1. An individual has threatened a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, has used a deadly weapon against a law enforcement officer, has caused a law enforcement officer to suffer serious bodily injury or death, or the officer has been abducted or is missing while on duty;
  2. The individual has fled the scene of the offense and a description of the individual or the individual’s vehicle is available for broadcast;
  3. The law enforcement agency investigating the offense has determined the individual poses a threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel; and
  4. Dissemination of available information to the public may help avert further harm or assist in the apprehension of the suspect.

According to Cecily Fong, the PIO for NDDES, says she understood much of the confusion today. 

The first message sent to all North Dakotans offered no description of what was happening. That lack of description led to people flooding the DES website and crashing it. 

The second alert gave more clarification. 

Fong also mentioned that NDDES would be doing an ‘after action’ review tomorrow in order to discuss how this alert 

we will be doing an after action review tomorrow — how did this go, what do we need to do better 
if BPD requests a blue alert, before it is issued, they need to reach out statewide and let other law enforcements entities know it is coming 

this was the first one ever — 

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