SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s called the Emergency Notification Tactical Alert Center — ENTAC for short. It’s based in Sacramento and it’s being used in the manhunt for a suspected cop killer terrorizing the Los Angeles region.

Much like an Amber Alert, which alerts us when a child has been abducted, the Blue Alert is sent out when someone has hurt or killed a police officer.

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CHP Capt. Greg Ferrero oversees the Emergency Notification Tactical Alert Center in Sacramento. (credit: CBS13)

CHP Capt. Greg Ferrero oversees the Emergency Notification Tactical Alert Center in Sacramento. (credit: CBS13)

But it takes more than just pushing a few buttons.

At 3 in the morning Thursday, shock waves hit law enforcement agencies across California.

“We had heard from our command center down south that an officer had been killed,” CHP Capt. Greg Ferrero said.

The CHP’s ENTAC sent out a warning to police, motorists and the media.

“We started off as activation from Bakersfield south,” Ferrero said. “A few hours later when the suspect hadn’t been caught yet, we expanded that activation statewide.”

A cop killer was on the loose and the only suspect was a guy who used to be a cop himself. When LAPD took one look at Christopher Dorner’s manifesto, officers were desperate to capture him quickly.

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But, just like an Amber Alert, the Blue Alert needs to follow certain steps.

“One, an officer has been killed and the suspect escaped,” Ferrero said.

Second, the suspect must be an imminent threat to the public.

“Thirdly, there has to be a vehicle involved,” he said.

With all criteria met, the Blue Alert was a go, lighting up highway signs across California.

Ferraro believes the new Blue Alert could prove critical in tracking down the rogue ex-cop on a revenge rampage.

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“The public is the best eyes and ears out there,” he said. “Their numbers far outnumber the amount of officers on the street looking for a suspect.”