Blue Alert

What is a Blue Alert?

The purpose of the Blue Alert Program is to establish a quick response system designed to issue and coordinate alerts following a violent attack upon a law enforcement officer. The goal of a Blue Alert is to provide immediate information to the public about violent suspects via media broadcasts, and other notification resources to solicit help from the public in the safe and swift apprehension of the suspect. 

Blue Alert Criteria


In accordance with Government Code 8594.5, and to prevent potential misuse of the system, specific alert criteria have been established in law. Under no circumstances will a Blue Alert be initiated by the California Highway Patrol for an incident that does not meet all of the criteria listed below.

  • ​A law enforcement officer has been killed, suffers serious bodily injury, or is assaulted with a deadly weapon, and the suspect has fled the scene of the offense.

  • A law enforcement agency investigating the offense has determined that the suspect poses an imminent threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel.

  • ​A detailed description of the suspect's vehicle or license plate is available for broadcast.

  • Public dissemination of available information may help avert further harm or accelerate apprehension of the suspect.

California Highway Patrol Resources

  • ​Emergency Alert System (EAS) SB 839 and Section 8594.5 GC authorize the CHP to activate EAS for a Blue Alert if authorized and under conditions permitted by the federal government. At this time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not approved and designated an EAS code to be used for Blue Alerts. Therefore, the EAS cannot be used for Blue Alerts until such time a code has been a code has been issued by the FCC.

  • Changeable Message Signs (CMS) are operated by the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans). Changeable message signs are used to disseminate real-time traffic safety and congestion information to the public as they utilize the highway transportation system.

  • APBnet This is an image-based system linking state, county and local law enforcement. APBnet can capture and immediately distribute color photographs and images to law enforcement agencies, the media and other organizations. The system can also forward information via fax to businesses, hospitals, schools, the media and agencies without an APBnet system.

  • California Highway Patrol (CHP) Internet sites When the CHP receives word of an incident which meets the Blue ALERT criteria, it can post APBnet flyers, photographs and other pertinent information on the department's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)/media Web site ( and public Web site (

  • Emergency Digital Information Service Emergency Digital Information Service provides local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with a direct computer link to media outlets and other law enforcement agencies. Standard EDIS text messages can be sent via the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS). In addition, ENTAC will be capable of posting images and graphics on the EDIS website


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