Some Minn. police departments pull SROs due to state's new restraint law
Police groups say the legislation prohibits school resource officers from taking action in situations in which students damage property or present a physical danger
By Sarah Roebuck
ST. LOUIS — As students head back to the classroom in Minnesota, several police departments are pulling school resource officers due to the state's new law limiting physical restraints, MPR News reports.
The new law prohibits school resource officers from “using prone restraint and comprehensive restraint on the head, neck and across most of the torso" when trying to control unruly students, according to the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.
Hennepin, Clay, Anoka and St. Louis County sheriffs, as well as Coon Rapids and Moorhead police departments, removed their department's school resource officers, citing concerns about the change in the law.
The use of prone restraints has been banned on students with disabilities since 2015, but lawmakers recently expanded the law to cover all students.
The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association met privately with the Minnesota attorney general earlier in August to address concerns regarding the new law, primarily the language in the law that states SROs are prohibited from "the use of prone restraints and the use of compression restraints on the head, back and across most of the torso.”
Law enforcement groups have argued that the legislation prohibits school resource officers from taking action in situations in which students damage property or present a physical danger. They are asking state officials to reconvene at the Capitol to clarify uncertainties surrounding the policy and its implementation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MCPA still seeking clarity following attorney general’s opinion regarding new law impacting school resource officers— Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (@MNPoliceChiefs) August 23, 2023
Read the full release: /https://t.co/Go1Rx9Bqtt pic.twitter.com/bc87ZNVtuC
Gov. Tim Walz said legislators can tweak the language of the law in February when lawmakers return to the Capitol for the 2024 legislative session.
Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Jeff Potts told MPR News that more law enforcement agencies are expected to pull officers from schools soon.