This National Police Week, Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and Fred Upton (MI-06) were joined by Representatives Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Nancy Mace (SC-01) and law enforcement officials to highlight the importance of creating a national active shooter alert system, so that every local law enforcement agency has access to tools to better respond to mass shootings.
According to the FBI, there were 40 active shooter events in 2020. The Bureau defines an active shooter event as an incident where “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” These incidents put a huge strain on our law enforcement officials. Among the many challenges facing law enforcement during these crises is preventing additional victims from unknowingly walking into the line of fire. Law enforcement and other independent review commissions have urged improvements in emergency communications systems.
The Active Shooter Alert Act, introduced by Reps. Cicilline and Upton in February, would create a program similar to the AMBER Alert system for law enforcement to alert the public to active shooters in their community.
“Mass shootings have become ubiquitous – so frequent that some of these horrific events barely make headlines. This is not normal and we cannot let it become normalized. We cannot become numb to these events. This is not the time to settle for the status quo – we must give law enforcement every tool they need to neutralize these threats. In every single shooting, it is law enforcement that runs to the scene to apprehend the shooter, help victims, and keep the surrounding community safe. And in these stressful, life-or-death situations, law enforcement officers are having to take to social media to communicate with the surrounding community so that no one accidentally walks into the line of fire or a crime scene. Law enforcement needs and deserves better tools than Twitter to communicate with the community,” said Rep. Cicilline.
“I’ve talked to my law enforcement at home in Michigan and they support this,” said Rep. Upton. “It’s a way that they can be there to respond to the scene and get innocent people out of the area to safety. At the end of the day, we can save more lives. Let’s get this done.”
“As the father of a deputy sheriff, I know how important it is for law enforcement to rapidly distribute accurate information to the general public following a crisis like a mass shooting,” said Rep. Thompson. “The Active Shooter Alert Act is a much-needed bill that will create an active shooter alert system for law enforcement, providing them with the tools they need to help keep our community safe during an active shooter situation. I am proud to work with a bipartisan coalition of my colleagues, led by Reps. Cicilline and Upton, to make this a reality and ultimately save lives.”
“Putting policies in place to help notify communities on serious active shooter threats is necessary to community safety. The AMBER Alert system has saved countless lives by keeping communities better informed, this similar system will do the same and help keep people away and stay safe in an active shooter event,” said Rep. Mace.
“The Active Shooter Alert Act is an important step in keeping communities safe, by eliminating delayed alerts. Having the capacity to send immediate active shooter alerts to the community will be instrumental in reducing risk to schools, churches, restaurants, retail stores, and more, where people have a reasonable expectation to gather safely. This alert system will be another excellent tool for law enforcement to do its job,” said Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director and CEO of the National Sheriffs’ Association.
“In light of recent tragedies in New York and California, prosecutors around the country have joined their law enforcement partners in working to combat shooting tragedies and put an end to gun violence that plagues the communities we serve. The National District Attorneys Association is proud to support Representative David Cicilline and Representative Fred Upton as they re-introduce the Active Shooter Alert Act. This bipartisan legislation creates a new alert system for law enforcement to alert the public when there are active shooters while also providing resources as our members work to keep our communities safe,” said Bryan Porter, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, and member of the National District Attorneys Association.
“The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police believes this commonsense piece of legislation will save lives when these unforeseen but unfortunately inevitable tragedies occur in our community,” said Peter Newsham, Prince William County Police Chief and Member of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and Foundation.
“Despite efforts over the past few decades, gun-related violence remains a troublesome, persistent public safety issue and we must do everything in our power to keep people safe,” said Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Carlos Mejia. “The ability to relay critical and timely information during active threats is a necessary tool for first responders.”
The Active Shooter Alert Act is endorsed by; National Sheriffs’ Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), National Police Foundation, National District Attorneys Association, Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation, North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association.
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