MARYLAND STARTS ‘EMMETT TILL ALERT’ FOR HATE CRIMES
Maryland leaders will now be notified of hate crimes with an “Emmett Till Alert.” The alert is named after the 14-year-old Black boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a White woman. Pictures of Till’s open casket helped transform the nation’s civil rights movement. Currently, the new alert will notify 167 key civil rights and community leaders of any racial incident or hate crime. The alerts have three levels: low, medium, and high. The highest level means there is a high possibility of violence or death.
CALIFORNIA SALUTES 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS AMBER ALERT SYSTEM
Since launching its AMBER Alert system in July 2002, California has helped return 376 missing or abducted children to their families. The state issued its first alert a month after its inception and rescued two teen girls from a suspect who later died in a gun battle. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recognized the 20th anniversary of the child abduction alerts at a press event. “We are so successful because we are all caretakers in our community,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray.
MORE STATES USING ALERTS FOR HIT-AND-RUN DRIVERS
Starting in January 2023, California will begin issuing Yellow Alerts to notify the public and help law enforcement find hit-and-run drivers. If police have a complete or partial license plate number and description of the vehicle, the information can be flashed on highway message signs in the area and sent to the media. Colorado and Maryland already use similar alerts for hit-and-run crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a 26 percent increase in hit-and-run fatalities – from 2,037 in 2019 to 2,564 in 2020.
U.S. HOUSE APPROVES ACTIVE SHOOTER ALERT SYSTEM
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in July to establish an AMBER Alert-style system to warn the public about active shooter incidents. The bill’s supporters hope the alerts will protect the public during mass shootings. The bill now needs approval from the U.S. Senate.