LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan’s new Amber Alert-like system to quickly warn people of mass shootings, terrorist attacks and other nearby threats is operational.
State police on Thursday announced the update about the system.
Following activation by law enforcement, the system can be used to interrupt radio and TV broadcasting in the affected area. A wireless emergency alert can also be issued through mobile carriers that will appear on mobile devices similar to a text message.
“It is extremely important to make the public aware of a potentially life threatening situation, as accurately and quickly as possible, so our residents can stay out of harm’s way,” Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, said in a statement. “Nearly everyone has access to a mobile phone, and unlike other emergency notifications, you do not have to opt-in to receive these important alerts.”
Legislation to create the system was signed in June by Gov. Rick Snyder and was spurred by the random February fatal shootings of six people in the Kalamazoo area.
The measures also create criminal penalties for making a false report of a public threat and require offenders to reimburse governments for the cost of responding to false reports.
The Public Threat Alert System can be activated by state police upon request of law enforcement, when the following criteria are met:
• A specific and identifiable threat exists that is not a natural disaster.
• The threat is immediate and ongoing.
• The threat impacts the safety and welfare of the general public.
• The suspect(s) have not been apprehended and remain a threat to public safety.
• An area-wide broadcast via the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) has been issued.
• Sufficient information to protect the public from danger is available to disseminate.
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