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Assemblyman Proposes Alert System to Catch Hit-and-Run Drivers

Under the proposal, law enforcement would use the statewide Emergency Alert System to broadcast descriptions of vehicles involved in serious hit-and-run accidents.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto. Courtesy photo.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto. Courtesy photo.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, proposed last week the creation of a statewide "yellow alert" system — modeled after Amber Alerts — to help catch hit-and-run drivers.

Assembly Bill 47 calls for law enforcement agencies to use the Emergency Alert System to circulate bulletins with descriptions of vehicles involved in a hit-and-run collisions that result in deaths or serious injuries.

"The public is almost always needed to catch those who leave fellow citizens dying on the side of the road, and AB 47 will allow us to do so promptly, before the perpetrator can get away and cover up the evidence," Gatto said.

Nationwide, less than half of all hit-and-run offenders are caught and, in Los Angeles, the rate is about 20 percent, according to Gatto.

The alerts would be similar to Amber Alerts, which are aimed at helping find abducted children. In Denver, a "Medina Alert" was created in 2012 in the memory of Jose Medina who died in a hit-and-run. Of 17 cases in which Medina Alerts were issued, 13 hit-and-run cases were solved, officials said. The system is now being instituted across Colorado.

The Los Angeles City Council voted last month in favor of a resolution to back state legislation that would create such alerts for hit-and-runs.

"We will no longer tolerate these heinous crimes, these cowardly acts," the resolution's author, Councilman Mitch Englander, said when the council voted.

— City News Service

Desert Rat June 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM
I would hope the vetting process would also be thorough. No prank calls with perceived enemy's plates, no jumping the gun on a person who got into a fender bender and who was looking for a better place to pull over, etc. Sometimes people call 911 hysterical over an accident that turns out to be minor. It may not feel minor when it happens but "vehicles involved in a hit-and-run collisions that result in deaths or serious injuries." is the key phrase here.
Ken Briggs June 16, 2014 at 02:38 PM
Desert Rat , yes but sometimes if you are hit from behind and you try to stop to see what happen on the highway and the person takes off how are you going to get the plate number ? the same way if the wheels in front of you take off or the side swipe car take off how are you going to get a plate number , then you got to get close to see A plate and be able to read it . and know your colors and what kind of car truck it is or was ,
Desert Rat June 16, 2014 at 04:47 PM
Precisely the point Ken. Only good information should be posted, not guesses. You cannot put out just a description of a white compact car to the whole world as this would inundate 911 and the dispatchers with calls. That kind of information is put out over the radio directly to patrol cars, but not to the general public. Just like an Amber Alert, the information has to be specific for it to be given to everybody.
nunya bizness June 17, 2014 at 03:08 AM
This is a great idea . Why stop here? Let's keep it going. How about blue alerts for suspect/vehicle in a homicide that just occurred? And how about a red alert for a suspect/vehicle in an arson that just occurred? Or maybe a green alert for suspects/vehicles in a terrorist attack?
Desert Rat June 19, 2014 at 12:24 AM
Or a pink alert for?

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