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sex crime, campus police, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerA new measure has been proposed in the Illinois House that would change the way in which sexual assaults are investigated on college campuses. The bill was drafted in response to a number of high-profile cases involving campus sex crimes that university police and administrators have been accused of mishandling.

In late March, Representative David Harris, R-ArlingtonHeights, introduced House Bill 3520, known as the Investigations of Sexual Assault in Higher Education Act. In drafting the bill, Rep. Harris hoped to address growing concerns that police departments on public university and community college campuses may be hamstrung in their efforts to effectively investigate sex crimes occurring in their jurisdiction. His proposal would make local law enforcement officials, such as municipal police departments and county sheriffs, responsible for the investigation of such crimes.

My concern was that campus police are not as equipped, trained, and prepared to handle allegations of sexual assaults as are trained law enforcement officers, he said. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, he indicated the dangerous possibility exists that a campus police department may be more interested in protecting the school from negative publicity than seeking justice for victims. I’m not saying this happens, Harris said, but there could be a bias on the part of campus police.

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