Governor Signs Dr. Pan’s SB 424 to Give College Police Powerful Tools to Solve Crimes & Strengthen Trust

August 13, 2015

Sacramento – Dr. Richard Pan, a State Senator representing Sacramento, announced today that the Governor has signed Senate Bill 424 which will give college and university police departments the authority to use “pretext phone calls” or recording devices like body-worn cameras during their investigations into serious crimes such as sexual assault, robbery, burglary, arson, theft and murder. 

“Our college police provide front-line protection for 3 million students and employees in California,” said Dr. Richard Pan. “College police need the same investigative and policing tools that virtually all other police entities in the state have the authority to use.”

“We want to thank Dr. Pan for his leadership in introducing SB 424,” stated Randy Burba, President of the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, the sponsors of SB 424. “SB 424 is a major step in improving public safety on our campuses and in our communities. SB 424 will enable us to set up ‘pretext calls’ which  are critically important tools in eliciting admissions from the suspect, especially when you consider that in the vast majority of the cases the perpetrator is known to the victim."

SB 424 will enable the use of a “pretext phone call” which is used in a variety of investigations and especially effective in sexual assault investigations, including drug-facilitated rapes.  A pretext phone call is simply a tape-recorded phone conversation between the victim and the suspect to gather evidence. 

SB 424 would also authorize the use of body-worn cameras which would document encounters between campus police and the public in an effort to improve evidence collection, strengthen officer performance and accountability. Many police agencies across the state are equipping police with body cameras to record officers’ interactions with the public. Chief Burba described these provisions as “a great leap forward in our continuing efforts for transparency in campus law enforcement.”

Some crimes such sexual assault disproportionally on campus.  Nearly 20% of undergraduate women report attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college while many more go unreported.  Providing police with effective tools of justice will hopefully make other victims more comfortable coming forward and reporting an assault.

College and university police departments meet the same POST training and certification requirements of every municipal police and county sheriff agency. 

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