By Marc Kovac
Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill creating a new statewide-alert system to track down individuals who seriously harm or kill police officers.
Ohio joins more than a dozen other states with the so-called Blue Alert systems, similar to Amber Alerts, which rapidly disseminate information about missing or abducted children.
Provisions for the new system were included in Senate Bill 258, which cleared the Ohio House and Senate unanimously. Kasich signed it Friday at a private ceremony Friday. The law takes effect in early June.
The system will be activated whenever a local, state or federal law-enforcement officer is injured or killed or if an officer is reported missing, with information about alleged perpetrators widely broadcast to gain public assistance in tracking them down.
It was co-sponsored by state Sen. Tom Patton, a Republican from the Cleveland area whose son, a Cleveland Heights police officer, died in the line of duty.
“We hope that Ohio will never have to use a Blue Alert, but should that day come, this system will help reduce the time a suspect who has killed or wounded a law-enforcement officer may be at large,” Attorney General Mike DeWine, who supported the legislation, said in a released statement. “This law is vital for the safety of law enforcement and the protection of Ohio residents.”