Legislative Update 2019-03-18

CCUPCA collectively protects over three million people in the jurisdictions we are sworn to serve in California.  We address the same crime challenges as municipal police and county sheriff agencies.  However unfortunate, there are some crimes that take place disproportionately within our jurisdictions.

One of those crimes is active shooter incidents on our campuses.  In 2016, national findings concluded an active shooter incident takes place on a higher-ed campus once every eight days.  Even scarier, 2018 national findings concluded active shooter incident takes place on a K-12 campus once every five days!

Despite best efforts, the evidence still points to the unhappy reality of active shooter incidents on campuses.  In a review of active shooter incidents across the nation two critical factors were highlighted:

  1. A clear failure of radio communication between schools and law enforcement.
  2. The need for live video streams shared with first responders.

These priorities point to a clear need for multimedia interoperability to be installed and maintained on California school sites.

It is for this reason that CCUPCA is in strong support of Assembly Bill 1499.

Assembly Bill 1499 and What it Means

Assembly Bill 1499 will enable school and post-secondary institutions to obtain critically important interoperability technology to improve response to active shooter incidents.

As this bill is now being amended it will provide as follows:

Subject to appropriation by the State Legislature, a grant shall be established and operated by the State Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to provide for assistance in obtaining, retrofitting, purchasing and maintaining interoperability systems in K-12 schools, Community College campuses and California State University Campuses.  The grant funding shall also be made available to local law enforcement agencies and local fire agencies to coordinate their systems of communications utilized for first responder activities to be compatible and coordinated with emergency technology systems installed and operating on school and university campuses.

The specific privacy and technological requirements of the interoperability systems qualified for the grant subsidy shall be developed in this measure through discussion of best practices and conformance with applicable state and federal privacy protections for students.  Applicants would also be required to meet specified requirements for eligibility for State funds to aid in installation and operation of interoperability systems for school safety.

Grants and subsidies to local agencies shall be evaluated by Cal OES and determined pursuant to a risk assessment or standard application to OES for State assistance by the school campus, district, community college or University. 

This technology is already available and in use at various locations across the country. It is an affordable solution which would enable staff and faculty with the ability to initiate an immediate, coordinated response from law enforcement simply by activating a panic button app on their cell phone.

The way it works: If the “active shooter” button is pressed on a smart phone panic button,

  • A 9-1-1 call is placed
  • Simultaneously, law enforcement and schools are connected via an online collaboration session sharing radio and video
  • Faculty and staff get a notification alert and can go immediately into their SOP
  • The school surveillance video feed is activated for LIVE streaming to law enforcement dispatch

Thus, response time to an incident is reduced significantly and those in danger know help is on the way. Plus, law enforcement officers can enter a situation with more information and can act decisively, reducing overall time to incident resolution.

Assembly Bill 1499 will enable school and post-secondary institutions to obtain critically important inter-operability technology to improve response to active shooter incidents.