Police Week: Police, lawmakers join in push for 'blue alert'
Wanda Rhyne's husband Rick had already retired after 37 years as a police officer and chief in North Carolina.
He wasn’t ready to quit, so he took a part-time job with the Moore County Sheriff's Department - which ended, along with his life, during a trespassing call last December.
“He went to arrest him and the guy pulled a gun on him, shot my husband and then shot himself,” Rhyne’s says.
In Rhyne's case investigators knew right away who killed him. But more often than not, that's not the case.
Sherry Conrad's former co-worker, Lieutenant Michael Vogt, was killed on the job in Southern Georgia. She hopes Congress approves a proposed nationwide plan of blue alerts - similar to amber alerts - but sharing information about whomever severely injures or kills a police office
“There's absolutely no reason why we can't get something on our cell phones saying looking for this particular person - get as much information as you possibly can,” Conrad says.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin is pushing the National Blue Alert Act of 2013 (S. 357) which, through the Department of Justice, would instantly share suspect information with officers, the media and the public across the country.
“Every officer off-duty is alert and on the watch for it, it's not just for your working officers at that particular time,” says Officer Bill Harvey of Kingston, N.H.
It would be a system that in no way could bring back a loved one. But, according to Rhyne, could provide closure or at least comfort to a victim's family suffering a sudden loss.
“You always know it's there. You hope it never happens,” she says. “I never thought it would.”
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