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What is a Blue Alert? DPS issues alert after suspect shoots at troopers

Posted at 1:04 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 16:08:37-04

PHOENIX — Residents across the Valley were surprised to see a "Blue Alert" on their phones Thursday, with many left wondering what the notification was in reference to.

The rarely used alert was sent after a suspect shot at Department of Public Safety troopers in Phoenix Thursday morning. Luckily, none of the troopers were injured in the incident.

The suspected shooter, a 17-year-old male, was taken into custody, but a second suspect who had been driving the pair remains on the loose. The second person fled the scene of the shooting, sparking a search by authorities and the Blue Alert sent to the public to be on the lookout.

According to DPS:

The purpose of the Blue Alert program is to establish a notification system that provides immediate information to the public through issuing and coordinating alerts using various resources following a violent attack upon a law enforcement officer.

The goal of the Blue Alert is to protect the public and officers through efficient information dissemination and communication that results in quick and safe apprehension of suspect(s) when such attacks occur.

Arizona Blue Alert Criteria

As prescribed by A.R.S. 28-1726, specific criteria are established in statute. DPS will issue a Blue Alert when the following criteria has been met as listed below.

  1. Death, serious, or life-threatening injury to a law enforcement officer.
  2. Suspect poses an imminent threat to the public or other officers.
  3. Suspect is at large in a vehicle.
  4. The vehicle license plate number or detailed description of the vehicle exists.

At least one Blue Alert has been issued in Arizona previously, in connection with a 2018 incident when a man dragged a Chandler police officer with his vehicle and tried to hit a second with his car.