Keeping the public informed, safe: New Public Threat Alert system now up and running

Posted at 12:29 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 12:29:56-04

When there is a public threat, a new alert system will notify residents of the danger in an attempt to keep the public safe and informed.

The threat alert system, which was created by Public Act 235 of 2016, was activated Thursday. The new alert system can be used in cases where there is a public threat, which is defined as a clear, present, persistent, ongoing and random threat to public safety.

A public threat can include an act of terrorism, an unresolved mass shooting or an unresolved mass shooting spree.

When the system is activated by law enforcement, it will act similar to how AMBER Alert is issued. The Emergency Alert System can be used to interrupt radio and television broadcasting in the affected region. A wireless alert can also be issued through mobile carriers, which appear on mobile devices similar to a 90-character 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,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police (MSP). “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.”

The Public Threat Alert System is activated by the MSP Operations Unit 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.

"I'd like to thank the MSP and Gov. Rick Snyder for their assistance and coordinated efforts in implementing this precautionary measure and bringing it online so quickly, said Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo, who sponsored the legislation creating the Public Threat Alert System. “It has and always will be my intention to ensure the public safety of all Michigan residents and my hope is that we never have to use this system; however, if tragedy should strike our local communities rest assured you will be alerted promptly."