HD16 - Interim Report on Potential Minimum Core Operational Functions for Campus Police and Security Departments

Executive Summary:
The 2014 General Assembly directed the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to study potential minimum core operational functions for campus police and security departments, to include determining the existing capacity of these departments, the costs of bringing existing departments into compliance with such functions, and legislative amendments needed to require compliance by such departments. DCJS was directed to report its findings to the Governor and the General Assembly by November 1, 2014.

Due to complexity of the study topics, and relevant work by the Governor's Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence which will not be completed until June of 2015, DCJS requested and received permission to submit the final report for this study until November of 2015. The current report provides an interim report on study progress to date.

As of October 24, 2014, DCJS has accomplished the following on the study:

• Established a Study Advisory Committee, consisting of members from the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA) and other state and local officials;

• Presented a plan for the study at the June 2014 VACLEA Summer Conference, and gathered input on study issues from police and security officials from many different campus settings;

• Identified 71 Virginia institutions of higher education for inclusion in the study, based on different types of institutions designated in the Code of Virginia;

• Identified current standards for campus police/security departments established by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS);

• Sent a survey to the 71 institutions included in the study to identify police/security functions now being conducted by the institutions, assess how effectively these functions are being conducted, identify obstacles to effective conduct of these functions, and solicit information on potential additional functions; and

• Collected preliminary data on the costs of conducting campus police/security functions.

Preliminary findings obtained to date include the following:

• There is great variation in the size, responsibilities and resources of campus police and security departments throughout Virginia. A “one-size fits all” approach to campus police/security functions will not work.

• Currently there is no statutory definition of “core operational functions” for Virginia police departments of any type. Defining potential minimum core operational functions for campus police departments raises the question of whether such minimum functions should also apply to all police departments in Virginia.

• Current Code language concerning the responsibilities and requirements for Virginia police departments is vague and scattered, making it difficult to clearly identify what is required to operate a police department. This may present a problem to institutions wishing to establish police departments.

• In addition to the current § 9.1-1300 establishing sexual assault policies for Virginia law-enforcement agencies, efforts are now underway to develop guidelines and/or standards for campus law enforcement responses to campus sexual assault cases. Although these will not be available until mid-2015, they should be included in any minimum core operational functions for campus police/security departments.

The current report also contains preliminary findings from the DCJS survey of campus police and security departments. Although not representative of all institutions included in the study, these findings are presented as an indicator of the findings and issues which the final 2015 study report will address.