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What is a Florida Blue Alert?

WTSP-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg logo WTSP-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg 9/27/2021 10 Tampa Bay

Were you confused when an alarm started going off on your phone Sunday afternoon? You're not the only one.

It’s called a Florida Blue Alert, and it's issued statewide when a law enforcement officer is killed, seriously injured or missing in the line of duty and there's still an imminent threat to the public.

A Blue Alert is broadcast through the state's Emergency Alert System to phones, television, radio and message boards across the highway. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) work together to get the information out immediately in order to "avert further harm or assist in the apprehension of the suspect." 

It was established nearly 10 years ago on Oct. 1, 2011, when then Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order in response to the increased number of law enforcement officers killed, injured, or missing in the line of duty, according to FDLE. 

Blue Alerts use a lot of the same technology as AMBER and Silver Alerts.

This Sunday's Blue Alert was issued for Patrick McDowell, a former Marine suspected of killing a North Florida deputy.  

Deputy Joshua Moyers died Sunday afternoon after being shot during a traffic stop early Friday, the Nassau Sheriff's Office reports. There is a $54,000 reward donated by different agencies for whoever gives useful information to law enforcement that leads to the arrest of McDowell.

If you didn't receive the Blue Alert on Sunday, you can sign up to receive future notifications here. They also are broadcast to eligible smartphones.

RELATED: $54K reward offered for info leading to arrest of suspected killer Patrick McDowell


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