New public threat alert system operational

The emergency threat alert system created by Public Act 235 of 2016 is operational.

This new alerting 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 includes, but is not limited to, an act of terrorism, an unresolved mass shooting or an unresolved mass shooting spree.

Upon activation by law enforcement — similar to how an Amber Alert is issued — the Emergency Alert System can be used to interrupt radio and television broadcasting in the affected region. A wireless emergency alert also can be issued through mobile carriers, which will appear on mobile devices similar to a 90-character text message.

The system is activated by the MSP Operations Unit upon request of law enforcement, when the following criteria are met:

• 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.

“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,” Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said. “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.”

State Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo) who sponsored the legislation creating the system added, “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.”