LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law a measure that will help create a statewide alert system to be used in the event of a public threat like a shooting spree.
State Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Kalamazoo, who sponsored the legislation, was there as the governor signed it Tuesday.
The legislation was drafted following the February shooting spree in the Kalamazoo area that killed six people and wounded two more. During that spree, in which the shooter targeted people at three locations apparently at random, many were unaware of the danger. Family members of two of the victims testified in support of the bill during legislative hearings in April.
The system designed under the new Public Act 235 is meant to work similarly to Amber Alerts, notifying you on your smartphone, TV and radio of a shooter situation. Michigan State Police will be responsible for sending out the alerts. They will be limited to specific areas and cities during the public threat.
The tough part is defining a public threat. A legislative analysis of the measure defines it as a “clear, present, persistent, ongoing and random threat to public safety.” That would include terrorism and unresolved mass shootings or shooting sprees.
The law also makes it a felony to report a false public threat.