WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the news that Copley Patrolman Ben Campbell, a National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS 2012 Award Winner, will be honored in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House on Saturday. The event will be attended by President Obama and Vice President Biden.
“Every morning, our law enforcement officers—like Patrolman Campbell—suit up and head off to work, unaware of what that day might bring. They put their lives on the line to address robberies, patrol dangerous neighborhoods, and investigate violent crimes. They do so because of a strong commitment to their communities, and it is clear that Patrolman Campbell is truly dedicated to the Copley community,” Brown said. “Patrolman Campbell’s quick thinking and sharp instincts helped stop a killer and saved the lives of countless Ohioans. I am proud to hear of his recognition from the National Association of Police Organizations and the White House. As National Police Week begins in the coming days, we must remember to thank all those who serve in uniform—as well as their families—for their service and sacrifice.”
According to NAPO, when Officer Campbell responded to a report of shots fired in a family neighborhood, he found a very grisly scene. An armed suspect had shot eight people, killing seven, and was still at large in the neighborhood. Without waiting for backup, Campbell took off on foot after the killer. As he scoured the area, he heard more gunshots and ran in their direction. Suddenly he found himself in an open area, with no protection, but surrounded by trees and houses, any one of which could be hiding the shooter. Sure enough, the suspect stepped out from behind a house and pointed an automatic pistol directly at Officer Campbell. Campbell commanded the shooter to drop his weapon, and when the man refused, the Officer had no choice but to shoot, killing the suspect. A subsequent investigation found more than 200 rounds of ammunition in the suspect’s car. Other information indicated that he was planning to drive to his girlfriend’s family reunion, where he undoubtedly would have murdered many more people.
Last year, as Police Week 2011 kicked off, Brown announced his support for the National Blue Act of 2011. In March 2012, Gov. Kasich signed a law creating a Blue Alert System in Ohio. However, without a national system, Ohio—which borders five other states—would still be vulnerable to the most dangerous of criminals.
According to the FBI, 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in the United States in 2010. Law enforcement agencies also reported that 53,469 officers were assaulted while performing their duties in 2010. A national “Blue Alert” system would be modeled after the “Amber Alert” system currently used to notify the public about a missing child. The nationwide alert system would be used to disseminate critical information about the suspect to law enforcement agencies, the public and the media. According to C.O.P.S., most statewide “Blue Alert” systems require four general criteria for an alert to be issued. These criteria are:
- A law enforcement officer must have been killed or seriously injured by an offender.
- The investigating law enforcement agency must determine that the offender poses a serious risk or threat to the public and other law enforcement personnel.
- A detailed description of the offender’s vehicle, vehicle tag, or partial tag must be available for broadcast to the public.
- The investigating law enforcement agency of jurisdiction must recommend activation of the Blue Alert to the State Operations Center.
When a Blue Alert is activated, media broadcasts and Department of Transportation messaging signs would be utilized to distribute information identifying a detailed description of the offender, the offender’s vehicle, and license plate information. C.O.P.S. notes that such an alert could help hinder the assailants’ ability to flee the state and might also facilitate a speedy capture of the criminal, helping eliminate the threat they would pose on other communities and law enforcement personnel. The bill has been endorsed by several law enforcement organizations, including C.O.P.S., the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the National Sherriff’s Association, and the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association.