Cicilline, Upton Introduce Bipartisan Active Shooter Alert Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and Fred Upton (MI-06) today are introducing the Active Shooter Alert Act, bipartisan legislation to create a program similar to the AMBER Alert system for law enforcement to alert the public to active shooters in their community.
Active shooter 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 would answer these calls by appointing an Active Shooter Alert Coordinator within in the DOJ. The Coordinator would offer federal training, technical support, and best practices to local and state law enforcement to effectively improve or implement active shooter alert systems. These resources would include guidance developed by subject matter experts, such as recommendations on making alerts in the vicinity of a shooter silent so the shooter is not alerted to those sheltered in place, or advice on what information is most effective to include in public alerts and how alerts should be sent. This program would be available for law enforcement to utilize on a voluntary basis to improve their system of letting civilians know to stay away and stay safe.
“The Active Shooter Alert Act is a commonsense, straightforward solution that will help save lives,” said Congressman Cicilline. “Developing these types of alert programs is a significant undertaking that requires precise and intricate protocols, and some communities just simply do not have the resources or expertise for such a project. We have the federal infrastructure to provide this technology to every city and town across this country and it would be a shame not to do so.”
“As we have seen over the years, there is no place exempt from mass shootings. Whether it’s folks going to worship, kids at school, or, as we tragically saw here in 2016, a man driving an Uber right here in Kalamazoo murdered six people and wounded two more,” said Congressman Upton. “The Active Shooter Alert Act will give local authorities more tools to provide accurate real-time information to the community. I’ll continue to seek solutions by listening to local law enforcement, community leaders and our school officials. The stakes could not be higher.”
Joining Congressmen Cicilline and Upton in introducing the Active Shooter Alert Act are Representatives Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Ted Deutch (D-FL), and Nancy Mace (R-SC).
“Developing commonsense solutions like the Active Shooter Alert Act is the first step to keeping our communities safe and saving lives,” said Congressman Thompson, Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce. “As our communities continue to feel the impact of senseless gun violence, we have a responsibility to keep the public aware and prevent further victims from walking into danger. This bill will help law enforcement provide accurate information to our communities and ensure that every town across the country can utilize this technology.”
“As communities across the country continue to experience increasing rates of violent crime, it is imperative that we take proactive steps to prepare for potentially deadly incidents,” said Congressman Meijer. “Providing state and local governments with best practices related to their use of mass alert systems for active shooter situations will help law enforcement be better prepared to quickly warn the public of any ongoing danger in these cases. Many local governments and law enforcement agencies may not be aware of the existing infrastructure available for sending out these mass alerts, so having policies already in place will help save lives. I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in leading this effort to improve public safety.”
The Active Shooter Alert Act is endorsed by National Sherriff’s Association, Major Cities Chiefs Associations, National Association of Police Organizations, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), National Police Foundation, and National District Attorneys Association.
“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, National Sheriffs’ Association.
“Tragically, active shooter incidents are becoming more prevalent across the United States. During these incidents, law enforcement must efficiently communicate with the public. The Active Shooter Alert Act will create an AMBER Alert-like system for active shooter incidents, which will undoubtedly be a valuable tool and resource for law enforcement agencies. The MCCA thanks Rep. Cicilline and Rep. Upton for their leadership on this issue and looks forward to working with them to advance this legislation,” said Jeri Williams, Chief, Phoenix Police Department and President, Major Cities Chiefs Association.
“The Active Shooter Alert Act will assist law enforcement in alerting citizens of an active shooter situation in their vicinity, keeping them away from the incident and maintaining their safety. We look forward to working with Representatives Cicilline and Upton to see this commonsense bill made into law,” said Bill Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations.
Responding to an active shooter event is chaotic and can be fraught with peril, especially when the incident is not confined to one location. Law enforcement officers must prioritize preserving lives and ending the threat. Simultaneously, they need a way to notify the public about the incident, whether that is to avoid a certain area, shelter in place, or announce when the area is once again safe. The bill you have introduced is designed to improve the ways officers and agencies communicate with the public about active threats,” said Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) National President Patrick Yoes.
“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. NDAA is proud to support Representative David Cicilline and Representative Fred Upton as they 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 Billy West, President, National District Attorneys Association.
Bill text is available here.