On the heels of a violent year in which multiple police officers in Missouri were shot, Governor Eric Greitens signed a bill into law that activated a "Blue Alert" system in the state.
"In the face of this violence, we must take action. We must stand up for those who stand guard for us," Greitens said in a release.
His administration has worked with the legislature to establish the "Blue Alert" system, which is similar to the Amber Alert and Silver Alert systems, to send out emergency notices to quickly find suspects accused of shooting police officers. He says 27 other states currently have a similar system in place.
Greitens added his administration will push for the strictest possible punishments for those who assault police officers.
Elizabeth Snyder — widow of St. Louis County police officer Blake Snyder, who was killed in the line of duty last October — is a big supporter of the Blue Alert system. She said, along with the harsher penalties attached to the new law, it could help cut down on officers being targeted.
"Letting criminals know that there are consequences, so if there are no consequences criminals will see hey this is a free ride I'm not going to get in trouble for whatever I'm going to do," she said. "Having more penalties is actually a good thing [because] maybe that will cut down on crime rates because they will think hey there is a big penalty maybe I'll go to jail for ten years and maybe they won't do it."
She said the loss of her husband is still painful, but with the new law she hopes it can help law enforcement families to not have to go through what she had to go through in losing her husband.
"I hope more things come to pass such as this [new law]," she said. "It gives me great hope for our government that justice will be served, when it needs to be served."
Greitens signed the Blue Alert Bill at 11 a.m. on Thursday at the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy.