• System alerts law enforcement of violent criminals

    By: Glenn Counts

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It has been a deadly and dangerous week for law enforcement in our area.

    A gunman ambushed officers outside of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, shooting and injuring one of them.

    Three officers and a deputy were killed in a York County ambush.

    "A person who is willing to kill a law enforcement officer wearing a badge, a gun, wearing a uniform, any civilian gets in the way, they will kill them," Tom Berry with the Blue Alert Foundation said.

    Berry is a retired Florida police officer who came up with a system to help catch criminals who put the law enforcement community in danger.

    Blue Alert works like an Amber or Silver alert.

    If someone has seriously wounded or killed an officer and is on the run, the alert goes out provided some very restricted criteria are met with the suspect's name, description and the type of vehicle the person was driving.

    "So, it's not going to be like Blue Alerts are going to go crazy every time an officer is shot seriously or killed in the line of duty," Berry said.

    The Blue Alert system has been in effect in South Carolina since 2012 and it's never been used, not even for the York County deputies because they had that suspect cornered.

    It’s also never been used in North Carolina.

    Matthew Phillips teaches criminal justice at UNC-Charlotte and used to work for homeland security.

    "I think it's great that it hasn’t been used in the sense that there haven't been that many incidents,” Phillips said. “Frankly, it's only a matter of time," Phillips said.

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