Watch CBS News

After months-long absence, Osseo school resource officers return to hallways

Minnesota school resource officers return after months-long absence
Minnesota school resource officers return after months-long absence 02:31

OSSEO, Minn. — School resource officers were notably absent from many Minnesota schools for most of this year, but in the last few weeks, several of them are back in the hallways.

Detective Missy Parker with the Maple Grove Police Department is the SRO for Osseo Senior High School.

"Walking into the school every day, I enjoy coming to my job," she said.

Parker's rapport with students is plain to see in walking around with her. Developing those relationships is much of what her job is about.

"I've had students come up to me and say, 'You're the only adult I trust in this building,'" Parker said. "It's pretty powerful, especially with that barrier we have with law enforcement. I get emotional about it because we're doing good things."

For seven months of this school year, Parker and her partner, Tony Mollen, were pulled from the building by Chief Eric Werner, just as SROs all over the state were.

The reason was a law change about use of force standards that many police found ambiguous.

Chief Werner told WCCO in September 2023, "My decision [to pull our SROs] is solely what is best for the students and what is best for the officers."

Until a bipartisan fix to the law last month allowed her back, Parker says it felt like she'd been fired.

But she supports Werner's decision to pull out.

"We don't go hands-on with kids here," Parker said. "It's very rare. Maybe there's a little tussle and it's pulling them apart. I think there's such a misperception of what police do in schools and it's opposite of what the public thinks."

Parker calls it a sigh of relief to be back in the halls here: for her, but also, she believes, for many of the students.

"It's a big part about us being safety in our school, but it's an advocate of our students too," she said. "That's the best part."

MORE NEWS: Police arrest 3 more students after Fridley melee that injured SRO Nico Wallat

Parker does feel a barrier with some students. Not all are so willing to trust a cop.

"Then I think that's the student I'm going to make that connection with," Parker said. "Every year, I'm able to get that student to have a little different perspective, and I think that's the rewarding part of this job. There's such an image of what we are out there, and we're just human beings like they are."

A spokesperson for Osseo Area Schools said in a statement:

"School safety and security are community endeavors – it takes all of us working together to do this. We're grateful to community partners, like local law enforcement, who are focused on building safe and inclusive school environments alongside us. They're continually investing in the safety and security of our students, staff and building on a daily basis. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure the safest school environments possible."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.