Commission rejects campus crime notification measures

Posted at 9:42 AM, Dec 07, 2011
and last updated 2011-12-07 09:44:27-05

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR)— Today the Virginia State Crime Commission approved a measure that will increase cooperation between campus and local police department after a crime occurs.

The measure, which will now go to the General Assembly, would create a mutual aid agreement that requires police departments to work together in handling death and sexual assaults on college campuses.

However, lawmakers chose to drop the mandatory notification clause originally included in the measure.

There were two measures in the clause. One would have required campus police to notify local law enforcement. The other would have required campus police to notify a Commonwealth’s Attorney within 24 hours of any reported death or sexual assault case.

Kathryn Russell, for whom the measure was named, was visibly upset about the decision.

She was raped on the University of Virginia campus seven years ago and feels that campus police mishandled the investigation.

Her attacker wasn't prosecuted until he assaulted another student.

There is a chance the 24-hour notification could be added back in when the General Assembly takes up the measure.

In addition to that measure, the Crime Commission also approved legislation that would require all university staffers to report crimes involving sexual abuse and the neglect of children to police.

The bill was filed in the wake of recent scandals at Penn State and Syracuse Universities.