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September 14, 2001

For More Information, Contact:
Jamille Moens at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO - Assemblymember Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that his legislation to enhance law enforcement programs targeting high tech crime was approved by the State Legislature.  Assembly Bill 821 authorizes grants to local law enforcement programs to train prosecutors, investigators and officers to combat high tech crime.  The bill also recognizes the need of law enforcement programs to focus on high tech financial crimes, often the goal of identity theft criminals, by including financial experts on the State’s High Tech Crime Advisory Committee.

“High tech crimes are a relatively new category of crimes,” said Simitian.  “Well-trained personnel are critical to law enforcement’s efforts to keep up with state-of-the-art technology and the criminals and hackers who use that technology.  This kind of training is a common-sense use of resources that ensures law enforcement can stop cybercriminals.”

Simitian’s bill authorizes the administrator of the High Technology Theft Apprehension and Prosecution Program (HTTAPP) to allocate a portion of the program’s funding to public agencies and private non-profit organizations to establish statewide programs of education, training, and research for prosecutors, investigators, and law enforcement officers involved in deterring, investigating, and prosecuting high tech crimes.

Carl Guardino, Chief Executive Officer of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group said, “This is exactly the kind of tool we need in Silicon Valley to make sure our companies and local law enforcement work together even more effectively.”

The HTTAPP was established in 1997 to create law enforcement units to protect government, businesses, and citizens from high tech criminals.  Recognizing that high tech crime required specialized equipment, investigative methods, forensics, and prosecution, the program provides funding for cooperative regional programs that bring together district attorneys, police, sheriffs, the FBI, and private business.  The specialized units have been successful in a variety of high tech crimes that range from capturing pedophiles that attempted to lure children through the internet to breaking up half-billion dollar criminal organizations that sold stolen technology in overseas markets.

Simitian said that his bill is an effort to “expand upon the successes of the original program, with particular emphasis on crimes of concern to Silicon Valley and the Peninsula.”  There are currently five regional high tech law enforcement programs in California, one of which serves Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The five regional programs join with an advisory committee to help direct priorities of the law enforcement units.  Simitian’s Assembly Bill 821 also adds a representative of the banking industry to the advisory committee to provide input on financial crimes, and to assist regional programs with identify theft crimes.

The bill now goes to the Governor’s office for signature.