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At some colleges, calls to police aren't recorded. A commission is encouraging lawmakers to help with costs

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) -- If you're in an emergency on a college campus you have two options. You can call 911 or contact campus police. But unlike 911, calls to campus police are not always recorded. The Tennessee Advisory Commission is studying call recording systems on college campuses. Researchers have found that most large public universities record calls to police. However, few private institutions record calls, and none of the community colleges record them. The state's two largest private universities Vanderbilt and Belmont both record calls. Of the 22 institutions that responded to a survey, 16 schools answered that they do not record calls to campus security. Unlike 911 call centers where the audio is always saved, federal and state laws do not require campus police to do that. On a crowded college campus, anything can happen. That's one of the reasons Austin Peay State University stores their calls. The university keeps calls and radio traffic for 90 days. "I wouldn't want it any other way," said Police Chief Sammie Williams. "It wouldn't matter where I worked. I would want to have that ability because it really... it helps make people feel safer in a way because they understand all that's being recorded." A researcher for the Tennessee Advisory Commission explained it's costly to store calls. "The cost to implement a call recording system is driven by the number of users, level of service and features purchased, and any need for new or upgraded equipment," said Bob Moreo. "Research staff was able to get cost information from a few institutions about their call management systems. The University of Memphis and Tennessee Tech said their initial start-up calls were around $100,000." According to the state, the $30 million for college safety grants that were set aside during the special session can be used to help get a college's system up and running. The Commission is recommending that state lawmakers encourage colleges to record and retain calls reporting crimes and do whatever they can to provide more funding. Get NewsChannel 5 Now, wherever, whenever, always free. Watch the live stream below, and download our apps on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and more. Click here to learn more.

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