BACKGROUND

South Carolina’s Blue Alert Program was signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley on February 27, 2012 (Code of Laws of South Carolina, Section 23-3-1400). The purpose of the program is to broadcast critical information to the public as quickly as possible in an effort to assist in the apprehension of an offender(s) who allegedly killed, seriously injured, or abducted a law enforcement officer and poses a significant risk to the public and other law enforcement officers. The Chief of SLED shall act as the program's statewide coordinator.

The Blue Alert Program, established within the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), has created a mechanism to rapidly communicate extremely important information to the general public and law enforcement to aid in the identifying, locating and capturing of the offender(s). Through voluntary partnerships with the South Carolina broadcasters, South Carolina Department of Transportation, and other organizations, the Blue Alert Program may increase the chances of rapidly capturing the offender(s) or locating the abducted officer which can result in a higher level of public safety.

In a Blue Alert event, if the offender(s) is seen or if anyone has knowledge of the identity of the offender(s), the public is warned to take caution and to immediately call 911 to provide information to the investigating law-enforcement agency.

ACTIVATION CRITERIA

In the interest of maintaining the confidentiality of an active criminal investigation, a request for activation must be received from the law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the investigation.

Blue Alert activation shall be based on the following criteria:

  • Requesting law enforcement agency can confirm that a law enforcement officer has been killed, seriously injured or kidnapped.
  • Requesting law enforcement agency can conclude that the suspect is a threat to the public’s safety, and there is enough information to disseminate to the public to assist law enforcement in apprehending the suspect.
  • Requesting law enforcement agency has entered the subject as being wanted into the database of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC); if available enter vehicle as being wanted.
  • Requesting law enforcement agency has issued a BOLO advisory through NLETS to other law enforcement/911 centers or has requested SLED to send a BOLO to other law enforcement/911centers.
  • There is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in apprehending the suspect: confirmed vehicle/tag information must be available to activate the electronic highway signs.
  • Requesting law enforcement agency has already activated a local or regional advisory by contacting media outlets in their jurisdiction and/or surrounding jurisdictions.
  • Requesting law enforcement acknowledges that use of the statewide dynamic alert system may be the only possible way to apprehend the suspect.
IF CRITERIA ARE MET, the requesting law enforcement agency will:
  • Contact SLED (803)896-7133, available 24/7.
  • Fill out the Blue Alert request form and e-mail the form to the SLED designee’s email address or fax it to (803)896-7041.
  • If available, send photos to SLED.
  • Contact SLED with updates and changes to the alert.
  • Immediately contact SLED if subject(s) is apprehended or for any other reason the alert can be cancelled.
Following a request to activate the South Carolina Blue Alert Program SLED will:
  • Upon receipt of the Blue Alert request form, the Chief of SLED or his designee will immediately activate the SC Blue Alert.
  • Send e-mail to broadcasters and other media outlets, requesting them to rapidly disseminate information to the public stating that in the event a citizen sees the subject, person of interest, and/or vehicle fitting the South Carolina Blue Alert description, to immediately call 911 and do not approach the person and/or vehicle.
  • Notify all SLED agents and command staff of the South Carolina Blue Alert.
  • Contact the South Carolina Department of Public Safety to notify all State Troopers of the South Carolina Blue Alert.
  • Contact the South Carolina Department of Transportation to activate their electronic traffic signage system throughout the state.
  • If requested, send a bulletin to all South Carolina law enforcement agencies with law enforcement sensitive information from the South Carolina Intelligence and Information Center (SCIIC).

CANCELLATION

To CANCEL the Blue Alert the initial requesting agency will:
  • Immediately contact SLED (803)896-7133 to request cancellation of the alert.
  • Fill out the Blue Alert cancellation form and e-mail or fax to SLED. The request will not be cancelled until the form is received.
  • Will remove the subject and vehicle from NCIC.
  • Will send NLETS message to cancel BOLO previously sent to other law enforcement and 911 centers, or will request SLED to do so.
SLED’s role during cancellation of the alert:
  • SLED’s designee will immediately notify SCDOT to turn off the electronic highway signs.
  • SLED’s designee will e-mail a formal cancellation of the Blue Alert to all participating broadcasters, media outlets and law enforcement agencies on the distribution list.

SECTION 23-3-1400 Blue Alert Program

(A) The 'Blue Alert Program' is established within the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The purpose of the program is to assist law enforcement in the apprehension of a suspect who allegedly kills, seriously injures, or abducts a law enforcement officer by rapidly disseminating information regarding the suspect, and to reduce the suspect's ability to flee thereby posing a serious threat to the safety of others.

(B) SLED shall adopt guidelines and establish procedures for issuing a blue alert, including the rapid dissemination of information regarding suspects through the use of the South Carolina Department of Transportation's electronic traffic signage system and other law enforcement mechanisms. The Chief of SLED shall act as the program's statewide coordinator.

(C) To aid in hindering a suspect's ability to flee and threaten citizens, communities, and other law enforcement personnel, SLED shall encourage and recruit television and radio broadcasters and other organizations to assist in the program by quickly disseminating information regarding the suspect.

(D) A blue alert may be issued if:
(1) a local, state, or federal law enforcement officer is killed, seriously injured, or abducted; and
(2) the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction:
     (a) determines that a suspect poses a serious risk or threat to the public and other law enforcement personnel;
     (b) possesses sufficient information that could assist in locating the suspect, including information regarding the suspect's vehicle; and
     (c) recommends the issuance of a blue alert to SLED.
(E) SLED may issue a blue alert upon confirmation of the requirements of Subsection (D). Upon issuance of a blue alert, information that could assist in locating a suspect may be displayed across the State via the South Carolina Department of Transportation's electronic traffic signage system and other law enforcement mechanisms. Also, the information may be disseminated to organizations assisting with the program.

(F) A blue alert may be canceled at the request of the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction or by the Chief of SLED when appropriate."