State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) introduced bipartisan legislation today to create a warning system, similar to an Amber Alert, that would notify the public of an urgent threat to their safety or health such as an active shooter situation or an act of terrorism. The lawmaker drafted the policy after a suggestion from Kalamazoo Sheriff Rick Fuller, who was sparked to action after an incident on Saturday, Feb. 20, left six people dead when a gunman drove around Kalamazoo, allegedly targeting his victims at random.
“There was no way to know that just being at the wrong place at the wrong time could have resulted in so much tragedy on that Saturday night, and as the situation was happening, there was no way to send a mass warning to those in the area,” Hoadley said. “This bill will make sure everyone has a chance to receive the news immediately when it is known, and hopefully get to safety to avoid another tragedy like the lost lives in Kalamazoo.”
“We need a comprehensive way to inform the public of an active threat as well as inform the public of when that threat subsides,” said Kalamazoo Sheriff Rick Fuller. “This is a tool law enforcement needs.”
At the suggestion of Kalamazoo Prosecutor Jeff Getting, the legislation also includes a penalty for false reports. This would make sure a “cry wolf” situation does not happen.
“It’s always a concern of new technology and ideas that there could be false alarms or over-utilization. However, since the Michigan State Police, in consultation with local law enforcement, make the final determination to activate the system, I am confident that the system will not be abused,” said Hoadley. “I look forward to working in complete bipartisanship with all my colleagues to combine the best ideas and implement the alert system before another single life is lost in an act of senseless violence.”