New Calif. Law Gives Campus Police More Investigative Tools

Senate Bill 424 allows college police to use body worn cameras and pretext phone calls.

California Governor Edmund Brown signed a bill into law August 10 that will give campus police many of the same investigative tools as city police.

Senate Bill 424, introduced by State Senator Richard Pan, will allow college police departments to use “pretext phone calls” or recording devices like body-worn cameras during certain investigations. The bill was sponsored by the California College and University Police Chiefs Association.

The measures will come into effect in the cases of serious crimes such as sexual assault, robbery, burglary, arson, theft and murder.

Pretext phone calls are when an alleged victim of a crime calls the suspect while police record the conversation in order to help the investigation. They are considered especially effective in situations like sexual assaults.

Lawmakers say the body worn cameras will improve evidence gathering and officer accountability. Many police departments in California have recently started to equip their police with the cameras, most notably in Los Angeles.

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