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School resource officers law: Gov. Walz to meet with law enforcement leaders; AG to release clarifications

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to meet with law enforcement leaders to discuss school resource officer law
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to meet with law enforcement leaders to discuss school resource officer law 01:43

MINNEAPOLIS — About 40 Minnesota school districts now are without school resource officers.

Gov. Tim Walz said he feels a clarification — and agreement — is close on the new law causing the dust-up. The governor says this isn't unusual. Laws get passed, then need clarification.

RELATED: What is the exact language of the new law concerning school resource officer conduct?

But as that process plays out for a section of the new education bill, the uncertainty has led the Maple Grove Police Department — and dozens of others — to pull its officers out of the high school.

"My decision is solely what is best for the students and what is best for the officers," said Maple Grove Police Chief Eric Werner.

At issue are the guidelines for when school resource officers are allowed to use force. Chief Werner says they conflict with the existing law guiding all police officers.

"It's just difficult when you have two standards of use of force. The challenges my SROs were facing, I just can't have them in that environment," Werner said.  

RELATED: Brooklyn Park police pull school resource officers after fight inside Park Center Senior High School

Gov. Tim Walz WCCO

He believes the school standard is also too restrictive, saying it limits even minimum physical contact that might be used in situations like vandalism or disorderly conduct.

"This is the law already for SROs, for about 40% of those students, because those students with special needs already have this in place. This was to clarify it for the entire student bodies," Gov. Walz said.

Walz says he's meeting with law enforcement this week, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will release clarifications that include sample scenarios.

RELATED: Maple Grove, New Hope, White Bear Lake police departments pull school resource officers

The governor says he's open to a special legislative session.

"I think this is fixable. I'm open to whatever that fix looks like," he said.

White Bear Lake and New Hope police have also pulled their SROs. In Maple Grove, the chief says cops will continue to patrol nearby the school.

RELATED: The 10 largest Twin Cities school districts' plans for school resource officers

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