Durbin Introduces Legislation to Increase Campus Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced legislation on April 26 to strengthen the safety and security of college and university campuses. The Campus Law Enforcement Emergency Response Act of 2007 will ensure that all colleges and universities develop emergency response procedures and campus notification systems, and test them on at least an annual basis.

“The terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech has demonstrated the need for colleges and universities to be prepared for the worst types of emergencies,” said Durbin. “Schools must develop and test procedures for responding to large-scale threats and dangerous incidents on their campuses. This legislation will help ensure that American colleges and universities have the ability and resources to protect the millions of students, faculty, staff and visitors they serve each year.”

“Senator Durbin’s bill effectively addresses concerns we have been raising for many years about how colleges are prepared to respond to threats to campus safety” said Catherine Bath, Executive Director of Security on Campus Inc., a leading non-profit organization working to promote safer campuses. “We hope to see this bill quickly adopted for the sake of our nation’s precious children.”

The legislation would require colleges and universities to do the following:

  • Develop and distribute policies for responding to law enforcement emergencies, including procedures for notifying students and employees about such emergencies. The term “law enforcement emergency” would include situations that occur on a college campus, that involve a law enforcement response and that pose a potential threat of continuing danger;
  • Report on statistics concerning the occurrence of such emergencies;
  • Test their law enforcement emergency response procedures at least annually; and
  • Provide notification to the campus community no later than 30 minutes after the discovery of a law enforcement emergency situation.

In addition, this legislation authorizes the Department of Education to administer a competitive grant program for colleges and universities to develop and improve their emergency response procedures. Five million dollars would be provided for the first year of operation. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is an original cosponsor of this legislation.

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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) press release

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