OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma signed House Bill 1546 into law establishing an Orange Alert notification system for use when prisoners have escaped their correctional facilities.
The bill states that correctional facilities shall create an "'Orange Alert' communication system to notify any resident within a radius of forty (40) miles when a prisoner of a correctional facility has escaped." Newspapers within these counties will post information regarding registration for the alert making it the responsibility of individuals to register to receive the alert.
According to a press release by the House of Representatives, the measure passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
HB 1546 was initially drafted by Arapaho-Butler High School student Katie Edelen during "Capitol Camp" in 2022. The camp seeks to teach students about the legislative process and how bills become laws. As part of the program, students had the chance to draft legislation about an issue that was important to them, according to a press release about the bill back in March.
Edelen's aunt was taken hostage by escapees from the Anadarko jail in 2006. Although she was too young to remember the incident, Edelen's grandmother, Penny Berry, notes that the family was "forever changed by the dramatic event."
According to the same release, Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton, who agreed to sponsor the bill, said residents who live near correctional facilities deserve immediate notification if they are in danger when a prisoner has escaped.
"This is phenomenal work by a young woman who took a frightening personal experience and turned it into a law that will better protect all Oklahomans" Moore said. "I am so proud of Katie's courage, insight and leadership on this important issue. Residents deserve to know if their lives are in danger, and this alert will help protect their safety."
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