Minnesota Chiefs Association asks Gov. Walz for clarification of new rules for school resource officers
A new law, according to the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, prohibits school resources officers from “using prone restraint and comprehensive restraint on the head, neck and across most of the torso.”
In a letter to Gov. Tim Walz, MCOPA Executive Director Jeff Potts asks the governor to “use whatever powers you have to address this situation.”
Rosemount Police Chief, Mike Dahlstrom, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS many chiefs are concerned about the new law and what it means for SROs as they try to control unruly students.
“By our interpretation it prevents techniques that actually make situations safer,” said Dahlstrom.
And, if an SRO has to break up a fight amongst students, the new law is unclear on how the officer should defuse the situation,” said Dahlstrom.
“One of the first things an officer might do is restrain the student across the torso to remove them from that situation,” said Dahlstrom. “According to the current language, we would not be able to do that.”
Eagan Police Chief, Roger New, told KSTP the new law could also put officers in a tough spot where they could face criminal charges.
“They are there simply trying to break up a fight and now they’ve violated the law because of this legislation that’s gone into place,” said New.
A spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Education issued the following statement:
“Minnesota schools are places where every student should feel safe and supported, which may include collaboration and a working relationship with their local law enforcement agency. We know the safety and security of all people in our schools is a priority.
The 2023 Legislature passed a law that prohibits prone restraint and other physical holds on students. However, the statute still permits the use of reasonable force to protect students and staff.
MDE will provide clarification and information to school districts and will work to help provide understanding of the practical application of the new law.”