To: Residents of Champlin and Staff and Students at Jackson Middle School and the Champlin Brooklyn Park Academy
As you may have heard, the Minnesota Legislature recently made changes to MN Statute 121A.58 and 121A.582 adding School Resource Officers (SROs) as agents of the School District. These new legal limitations prohibit our SRO from addressing certain incidents in our schools in the same way that a licensed MN Patrol Officer could. A few examples of these incidents that occur frequently in our schools involve trespassing, theft, damage to property and disorderly conduct among students.
The new laws have led to confusion on what authority and power a Police Officer employed in a role of an SRO has in addressing safety issues in and around our public schools.
As a result of the new legal limitations enacted by the Governor and State Legislature, the Champlin Police Department has been advised by our legal counsel not to enter into a contract with the Anoka-Hennepin School District to provide a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Jackson Middle School (JMS) or Champlin Brooklyn Park Academy (CBPA) for the 2023-2024 school year.
As the Champlin Police Chief, I cannot in good faith put our School Resource Officers in a position that does not provide them the ability to utilize their independent judgement and professional training in responding to a potentially dangerous incidents on school district property. I also cannot subject our SRO to potential criminal prosecution or civil liability that could potentially occur as a result of them performing their job while addressing potentially difficult safety situations with the students in our schools.
The Champlin Police Department values our long-standing relationship with the students and staff at JMS and CBPA and looks forward to our interactions with the students and continuing our policing services to the Anoka-Hennepin School District, as soon as necessary changes are made to the laws.
I am asking you for your help in reaching out to the Governor’s office and your State legislators and emphasize to them the urgency associated with resolving the ambiguity and confusion they have created with the passage of these two new State laws. Our students deserve to feel safe in our public schools. We all deserve clarification, and we hope this issue can be resolved expediently.
We will continue to watch this issue extremely closely, and are actively monitoring whether the Governor and Minnesota Legislature will convene a Special Session to clarify and/or modify the existing provisions of the laws to provide SRO’s with the authority to utilize their de-escalation training in addressing the difficult safety situations they encounter on a daily basis with the students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.