Once again, the California College & University Police Chiefs Association will trek to our State Capital, where important legislative objectives will be fully engaged in dialog and in preparation for bill development.
As you know, CCUPCA was particularly successful in its legislative advocacy, supporting or sponsoring, and then seeing all three of its legislative actions be passed by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. These three bills resolved in many cases decades-old limitations and vulnerabilities for California’s higher education law enforcement community. They included:
- In August, California Governor Edmund G. Brown signed Senate Bill 424, resolving a decades-old statutory inconsistency by authorizing campus police officers to record pre-textual calls as part of criminal investigations. In this same bill, the Governor also authorized campus law enforcement officers to be equipped with body cameras.
- In September, both houses again passed CCUPCA-sponsored legislation, by approving Senate Bill 707, designed specifically to resolve a significant vulnerability in California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995, prohibiting anyone who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon to carry a firearm on campus without written authorization from campus officials. Moreover, this same bill provided the ability for honorably-retired police officers to carry firearms on campus. Governor Brown signed this bill into law in October.
- Lastly, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 636 which requires post-secondary education institutions to disclose to law enforcement the identity of an alleged assailant if the institution determines that the alleged assailant represents a serious or ongoing threat to the safety of the campus community and the immediate assistance of law enforcement is necessary. This bill specifically addresses an unintended vulnerability that arose from a bill in the previous California-legislative session, while also preserving the federal requirements for reporting as outlined in both Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Act.
This year, CCUPCA seeks to resolve one bill that was uniquely successful in both houses in Sacramento, but vetoed by the Governor, and to pursue a highly critical objective to bring about some of the most important legislation higher education law enforcement in California’s colleges must achieve to truly be capable of providing consistent standards and resources to students, faculty, staff and visitors to higher education campuses.
Senate Bill 333 (2015)
First, Senate Bill 333, which was passed by both houses of the State Legislature without a dissenting vote (118-0), but was vetoed by Governor Brown in October 2015. SB 333 was written to rectify an unintended consequence of California’s Proposition 47, by restoring felony-level violations for persons possessing ‘date rape’ drugs that include Rohypnol, GHB and ketamine.
Because of interest by other organizations who did not recognize CCUPCA’s vast and immediate relevance to this bill’s purpose, our organization was not included among the bill’s supporters last year–a position we are working to establish very early for the upcoming legislative session–and we will provide a leadership role in the advocacy of this bill for 2016.
Equal Protections Bill
Secondly, CCUPCA has taken the lead role in bringing greater continuity and consistency in the application of all relevant laws and statues for security and public safety departments of private colleges and universities to those of the police departments of the public colleges and universities in the state.
It is the position of the California College and University Police Chiefs Association that existing laws suppress the opportunity of private institutions to protect its constituencies in a manner and through the use of laws that public departments can. These differences in turn are illustrated in the form of fewer options for private college security departments to prevent opportunity for crime, respond to in-progress crimes in a similarly effective manner, and to take actions that officers of public institutions have available to them.
The end result of these differences are campus environments in which private, campus safety departments cannot remedy criminal and hazardous activities that are observed or reported as thoroughly as the public campus police officers. Criminals and other persons who represent imminent threats learn these campuses and their inherent vulnerabilities borne from the limited abilities of their departments, and in turn commit more crime and more nefarious activity knowing that the likelihood of apprehension, arrest and prosecution is significantly reduced.
This constitutes a failure to provide equal protections of all persons who attend or visit a campus of higher education in the State of California solely because of whether the college is a public or private institution. That discrepancy is furthered by a wide array of State statutes that render private campus safety departments unable to take actions as immediately and effectively as their counterparts at public schools.
This expectation to protect equally and serve consistently is further exacerbated when the fact that the California Penal Code also specifically authorizes public K-12 school district and community college peace officers to work as Police Officers when they complete training requirements—the same training requirements that the overwhelming majority of private college public safety department personnel also complete. (California Penal Code Section 830.32 (c); Penal Code Section 832.3).
To read the entire draft position statement on this effort, please visit CCUPCA Legislative Objective 2016.
If you are interested in attending other functions included during the Law Enforcement Legislative Day schedule of activities, you can register for the Master Class and Legislative Day Training sponsored by our partners at CPOA, by visiting the registration site HERE.