What is a Blue Alert? Texas cops issue alert for Royce Wood who shot an officer

Blue Alert started trending on Twitter after Texas Department of Public Safety issued an alert on people's devices in their hunt for Royce Wood


                            What is a Blue Alert? Texas cops issue alert for Royce Wood who shot an officer
Blue Alert issued for Royce Wood (Fort Worth Police)

RHOME, TEXAS: 'Blue alert' started trending on Twitter on Tuesday, June 15. While there was some confusion about what the alert was for, others got scared by the notification on several of their devices such as TV, mobiles and iPads. Twitch streamer Nick Polom also addressed spoke about receiving a Blue Alert and told his fans it "scared the sh*t out of me".

The Twitter trend started when the Texas Department of Public Safety issued an alert to the people of nearby areas about Royce Wood. According to DPS, 43-year-old Wood was last seen around 8 pm on June 13 at the intersection of Highway 287 and Farm-to-Market Road 407 in Rhome, northeast of Fort Worth. Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin says Wood is a suspect in a home invasion robbery in the area on June 12. Deputies and Rhome officers tried to stop Wood after getting a tip that he was in the area on June 13 and was riding a motorcycle with a woman.

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While not many are aware of what a Blue Alert is, Amber Alerts that are issued for missing children are a lot more common. Some of the recent cases being those of Nora Starr Grant, Amina Cole and Djahziah Matthews.

Officials have said that Wood got off the bike and started running when police chased him. Later, he opened fire at the officers, striking one of them in the lower leg, Sheriff Akin said. Wood was wearing a baseball cap with a camouflage bandana around it, black sunglasses, a vest, a green shirt and shorts. The sheriff added that the woman is in custody and the Rhome officer who was shot is doing well. "We're exceedingly fortunate. We're very happy that the officer's doing well. We feel pretty good about his condition," Akin said. He also asked people living near Highway 287 and FM 407 to keep their doors locked. The shooting prompted DPS to issue a Blue Alert on social media and to the people of that area, which resulted in people getting notifications about Wood's description.

What is a Blue Alert?

The state's Blue Alert program was started on August 18, 2008, by Republican Governor Rick Perry who created the program under Executive Order RP-68. Blue Alerts are designed to speed up the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously wound local, state or federal law enforcement officers. "The ‘Blue Alert’ provides officials with the ability to alert the public when a law enforcement officer has been injured, killed or is missing. The alert will push real-time information to the public, like the location of the incident and any identifying information – such as suspect or vehicle description – to help locate possible suspects. Blue Alerts will be transmitted to television and radio stations with EAS and later to cellphones and wireless devices with WEA. Similar to current Amber Alerts for missing children, Blue Alerts enable agencies to rapidly disseminate information to other law enforcement agencies, the public and media outlets."



 

Blue Alerts can be issued in any of the following circumstances, provided there is actionable information known about a suspect (for instance, name, physical description or vehicle description). It is used:
- When a law enforcement officer is killed or severely injured in the line of duty
- When an officer is missing in connection with official duties
- When there is an immediate and credible threat to kill or seriously injure a law enforcement officer.

As soon as people started getting the Blue Alert on their devices, they started tweeting about it. One person said, "TEXAS PLEASE STOP SENDING A BLUE ALERT FOR THE SAME GUY I PROMISE YOU NOBODY KNOWS WHERE HE IS STOP SENDING ME ALERTS." While another one said, "i’ve never seen this in depth of a description for a missing kid, but a blue alert has this i hate it here."



 



 

Twitch streamer Nick Polom tweeted, "I just got a “blue alert” on my phone, my watch, and my TV. Scared the shit out of me Jesus." He then said, "Omg I got three alerts, it was so loud I didn’t even read what it said. I thought it was an old person was lost again. I learned more about it from Twitter than the alert system."



 

Telling people how to turn off blue alerts, one person said, "You can turn off the #bluealert by going into your notifications tab and scrolling all the way down, then disabling the slider FYI." One person who had no idea about what a Blue Alert is said, "The blue alert just scared the shit out of me for two reasons! 1 what is a blue alert and 2 my phone and TV went off at the same time. I though the world was ending!"



 



 

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