In response to the shooting death of an Orlando police officer, the state issued something called a Blue Alert.
It's similar to an Amber Alert, but is issued only when a suspect is on the run after killing or hurting an officer. It was created by a Sarasota man who says it needs to be a nationwide program.
Within hours after the Orlando officer was shot, the suspect's name and face was all over the news and social media thanks in part to a Blue Alert. "A Blue Alert is a system I created in May of 2008 here in Florida to speed the apprehension of criminals who kill or seriously injure a law enforcement officer in the line of duty," said Tom Berry.
Once triggered, the alert gets sent to law enforcement agencies and media across the state. Digital message boards along highways will also show important information.
Berry emphasizes the Blue Alert is an important tool for the public, not just police. "If somebody killed a police officer, they will also pose a public threat to the public and we want them off the roads so that nobody else gets hurt."
Twenty-eight states have the Blue Alert System and more are considering it. Nationwide last year, 140 law enforcement officers and 34 K-9s were killed in the line of duty. And Berry is hoping for a major improvement to the system by spring.
"We're working with the FCC so we can actually get our own code like an Amber Alert system that gets pushed to your phone that when a Blue Alert is issued it will go directly to your phone so the public is aware of it immediately."
Right now, you have to sign up to get Blue Alerts.
(© 2017 WTSP)