Monday, April 26, 2004 - by Jesse Hughes, State Republican Press Secretary
NASHVILLE-Senator Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) stated today that he was honored that Governor Bredesen saw fit to sign SB 2797, the campus crime scene investigation bill, at a public bill signing ceremony in Nashville.
"This is a relatively rare occurrence," stated Senator Burchett. "We are deeply honored and quite pleased that the governor signed this particular bill in a public ceremony which highlights the importance of campus safety.
"During passage of the bill, the Nottinghams worked tirelessly in an effort to ensure that no other parent should ever have to go through what they did. This law is designed to provide complete and thorough investigations on our college and university campuses whenever a serious crime is committed. This puts a much better statute on the books in order to provide a safer and more secure environment for college students and campus employees," stated Senator Burchett.
SB 2797 enacts the "Robert 'Robbie' Nottingham Campus Crime Scene Investigation Act of 2004" and is named after a college student who died while attending school in East Tennessee. His parents had actively worked the bill through the various committee and floor sessions.
Senate co-sponsors joining Senator Burchett on the bill include Senators Ben Atchley (R-Knoxville), Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville), and Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey). House sponsors and co-sponsors on SB 2797 substituted for the House companion bill, HB 2753, include Representatives Vaughn, Buttry, Hagood, Cooper, Cochran, Harry Brooks, Mumpower, Davis, Godsey, Bittle, and Vincent.
"It's the law. It takes effect upon being a law, the public welfare requiring it," stated Senator Burchett who represents Senate District 7 in Knox County.
The Secretary of State has assigned it Public Chapter 533, available online at http://www.state.tn.us/sos/acts/103/pub/pc0533.pdf.
Public Chapter 533 creates a new statute TCA 49-7-129.
(a) This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Robert 'Robbie' Nottingham Campus Crime Scene Investigation Act of 2004".
(b) Regardless of whether a public or private institution of higher education has entered into a mutual assistance agreement with a law enforcement agency pursuant to § 49-7-118, the chief security officer or chief law enforcement officer of such institution shall immediately notify, unless otherwise provided by federal law, the local law enforcement agency with territorial jurisdiction over the institution if the medically unattended death of a person occurs on the property of such institution or if such officer or any other official of the institution is in receipt of a report alleging that any degree of rape has occurred on the property of such institution. The chief security officer or chief law enforcement officer shall designate one (1) or more persons who shall have the authority and duty to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency in the absence of the chief security officer or chief law enforcement officer.
(c) Upon notification pursuant to subsection (b), it shall be the duty of each law enforcement agency to participate in a joint investigation of the death or alleged rape. In the case of a medically unattended death, the local law enforcement agency shall lead the investigation. In the case of an alleged rape, the institution's law enforcement agency shall lead the investigation.
(d) After notifying the local law enforcement agency pursuant to subsection (b), the security officers or law enforcement officers and all other employees of such institution shall cooperate in every respect with the investigation conducted by the law enforcement agency.
(e) As used in this section, "local law enforcement agency" means: (1) Within the territory of a municipality, the municipal police force; (2) Within the territory of a county having a metropolitan form of government, the metropolitan police force; and (3) Within the unincorporated territory of a county, the sheriff's office.
(f) A knowing violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.