White Bear Lake, New Hope pull SROs from school districts
Two metro area police departments have recently announced their decision to pull school resource officers (SRO) from schools in their respective districts.
The White Bear Lake Police Department (WBLPD) and the New Hope Police Department are ending their contractual agreements with White Bear Lake Area Schools and Robbinsdale Area Public Schools, which includes Cooper High School.
In a statement on Monday, WBLPD attributed their reason for pulling SROs to “the limitations created by the 2023 legislature,” which has placed SROs in an “untenable situation.”
“Our hope is that, someday, we are able to reinstate our agreement. Until that time, in light of the current legislation, it is not in the best interest of our officers to continue with the requirements of the agreement. We look forward to a resolution by the Governor and legislature, and we will continue to support both our officers and White Bear Lake Area Schools, within the new confines of the law,” said White Bear Lake Police Chief Dale Hager in a statement.
A news release from WBLPD said they would be staffing officers at football games, who will not be contracted agents of the school district but provided at the expense of the City of White Bear Lake. The release added that officers are also being encouraged to “walk-through” at schools when they have time.
On Tuesday, the New Hope Police Department cited their reason for leaving to changes to the standard for the use of reasonable force. These legislative changes mean that “a violation of the new statutory language by an SRO could be construed as an ‘unauthorized’ or ‘unreasonable’ use of force, making the officer potentially subject to civil and/or criminal liability and licensing sanctions,” according to a Facebook post from the New Hope Police Department.
In a statement on Facebook on Tuesday, New Hope Police Chief Tim Hoyt said, “The New Hope Police Department remains dedicated to the safety of students and the community, and I have complete confidence that our response protocols will maintain our high standards for service for Cooper High School and other schools within our jurisdiction.”
The full statement from the New Hope Police Department can be found below: