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POLITICALLY SPEAKING -- ADAM SCHIFF

One of my top priorities as your elected representative in Sacramento

has been ensuring that our communities are protected against violence and

crime. As a federal prosecutor for six years prior to being elected to

the California State Senate, I have worked hard to pass laws which give

prosecutors, police and community leaders the tools they need to

effectively combat crime.

I introduced several bills this year in response to problems brought

to my attention by our local police departments. One particularly

frightening case confronting the Glendale Police Department involved a

man who was stalking a co-worker, a single woman who lived alone. The

frightened woman awoke at 3 a.m. one morning to find this man hiding by

her bed after he used a passkey to enter her home. Under existing law,

the man could be charged only with simple trespassing, and not the more

punitive stalking laws.

At the request of the Glendale Police Department and the Stalking and

Threat Assessment Team of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s

Office, I introduced Senate Bill 1486 to permit stalkers who enter an

inhabited home to be charged with a new crime of aggravated trespass,

with double the penalties. Stalking is a dangerous, traumatizing, and

sometimes deadly offense that cannot be tolerated. Local law enforcement

and prosecutors must swiftly deal with the stalker to protect the victim.

When Burbank police and prosecutors told me that too often they did

not have sufficient time to legally retain for safekeeping firearms and

knives seized from suspects charged in domestic violence cases, I

introduced legislation to lengthen the deadlines under law. Police

statewide will now have up to 30 days - instead of a mere 10 days - to

seek a weapon retention hearing in domestic violence cases, ensuring that

weapons are not returned to suspects who may pose a continuing danger to

victims. Sponsored by the city of Burbank, I am proud to report that

Senate Bill 2052 was supported by the California Police Chiefs’

Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles

County District Attorney’s Office, and the police chiefs of San Gabriel

and Burbank.

At the request of the South Pasadena Police Chief, I also introduced

Senate Bill 1520, requiring pawnshops to report daily all pawned goods to

local law enforcement via the Internet or on computer disk. Currently,

pawned goods are reported on voluminous paper slips that must be searched

by hand when police are tracking down criminals. Computerized crime

fighting is an essential tool for law enforcement and it is time that the

process of reporting pawned goods is brought into the 21st Century. This

legislation will make it harder for crooks to pawn stolen goods and

easier for police to track down and recover stolen property as well as to

find suspects in violent home invasions and robberies.

When Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter, Polly, was kidnapped from

a slumber party and murdered, told me that his daughter’s killer and

other inmates were selling autographs, hair, fingerprints, photographs

and artwork at online auctions, I introduced a bill to strengthen

California’s “Son of Sam” law targeting this profiteering by felons. My

Senate Bill 1565 will put end to this shameful profiteering in gruesome

memorabilia by felons, their agents and third parties and will protect

victims and their families from renewed suffering. I also introduced

laws, Senate Bills 451 and 2018, to ensure that sexually violent

predators who pose a continuing danger are not released into our

communities.

Combating crime also requires investing in prevention and I am proud

to report that the Schiff-Cardenas Crime Prevention Act of 2000 invests

$121 million in successful community-based juvenile crime prevention

programs, the largest one-time investment ever made in such programs in

California. In addition, the act provides another $121 million for the

COPS (Citizens Options for Public Safety) initiative to hire additional

police officers to patrol the streets of every community. I also authored

legislation creating the Turning Point Academy, a military-style boot

camp for youths 15 and older who were expelled for bringing a gun to

campus. A military-style academy offering a rigorous program of

discipline, education and responsibility may provide the best opportunity

to turn these young lives around.

As your representative, and more importantly as a husband and a

father, I will continue to do all I can to improve the safety of our

neighborhoods.

Sen. ADAM SCHIFF represents the 21st State Senate District, including

Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and the surrounding communities. Reach him at

(626) 683-0282 or e-mail senator.schiff@sen.ca.gov.


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