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