A measure to provide additional training for law enforcement officers relating to sexual assault calls, response and evidence collection received final approval Thursday in the Senate. Senate Bill 971 is one of three bills filed this session by Democratic Leader Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, to better serve victims and enhance the tools and training used by law enforcement to investigate and prosecute sexual assault crimes.
“Unfortunately, rape and attempted rape is a common crime in our state and our law enforcement officers are committed to continuing their efforts to assist victims while collecting evidence efficiently,” said Floyd. “We can’t take the pain away for victims, but we can do our best to ensure the process moves as quickly and smoothly as possible so that law enforcement can make sure justice is served.”
Floyd was a member of the 2017 Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence that recommended the legislation. Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, served as the principal House author on the bill.
SB 971 directs the Council on Law Enforcement Education Training to refine training courses related to sexual assault calls, guidelines for the collection and maintenance of sexual assault kits, and continuing education on trauma-informed sexual assault response and intervention beginning November 1, 2019. The course, which will be included in the CLEET basic training services, must be completed on a regular basis as determined by CLEET.
The bill now goes to the governor for consideration.