A “Blue Alert” pinged phones all around San Antonio on Monday night, sending residents (and Twitter) into a frenzy.
Other than that, the notice, which went out at 11:30 p.m., had very little information “There is a Law Enforcement Blue Alert in effect in this area until August 17 at 12:59 a.m. CDT. Keep an eye on the radio or television.”
Along with San Antonio, the notice was broadcast to all of Texas’ main cities, sending shivers through Houston, Dallas, and Austin. Texas residents spent the majority of the night on Twitter attempting to figure out what the Blue Alert meant, what situation triggered it, and whether they should be concerned.
Steve Vladeck, a law professor at The University of Texas in Austin, tweeted a list of the several types of public safety alerts that can be sent to Texas residents’ phones.
According to the TxDPS website, a Blue Alert is a significant message that is sent out when officers are attempting to arrest “violent felons who kill or badly harm local, state, or federal law enforcement officials.”
Former governor Rick Perry initiated the alert in 2008. A Blue Alert must be issued if the offender poses a threat to the public and the offender’s vehicle, vehicle tag, or partial tag is broadcast to the public.
According to a tweet from the Belton Police Department, the Blue Alert was issued in connection with the shooting of a Clay County sheriff’s deputy on Monday night.