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Police organizations stop call for special session over SRO issue - but not everyone is happy

Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association says AG’s statement on SROs provides clarity
Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association says AG’s statement on SROs provides clarity 02:29

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. – After a month of debate, hypothetical questions and police departments across Minnesota pulling resource officers out of schools, it appears a second interpretation has at least slowed the fight.

In a statement from the Minnesota Chief of Police Association Thursday, the group says it has clarity on the state's new use of force law in school settings – thanks to a second interpretation from MN Attorney General Keith Ellison.

On Wednesday, Ellison clarified that resource officers are able to use force – as long as the force is considered reasonable. 

MCPA Executive Director Jeff Potts says he and other organization members met Wednesday night with Governor Tim Walz, Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic and House Speaker Melissa Hortman. The group says all three committed to addressing the issue of ambiguity in the law during the next legislative session in February.

This effectively ends the organization's call for a special session to address the law – something law enforcement officers had asked for since late August. 

"Student and school safety continues to by a very high priority of our police agencies," Potts said. "Positive strides have been made to clarify the new law to keep students, school staff and police officers safe. We look forward to working with our legislators to further clear up any ambiguities that remain unresolved."

For some departments, it's still not clear whether this is enough to put SROs back in school. By Thursday night, Eagan Police, who pulled officers out of buildings earlier this week, had not made a decision.

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

Other departments, like Brooklyn Park Police, say they're not comfortable sending SRO's back in the building until the law changes – or a judge makes a ruling on how the law will be enforced. 

"There is no case law on this," said Brooklyn Park Police Inspector Elliot Faust. "Nobody wants to make case law. I certainly don't want to be the police officer that's on the stand whatever the outcome of the trial is and gets to be the person that makes the case law that gives clarity to everybody else."

Faust says while Ellison's interpretation has provided the department a certain amount of clarity, he's concerned over who would theoretically be prosecuting – the county attorney. 

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

"The Attorney General is not in charge of prosecution in Hennepin County," he said. "The Hennepin County Attorney's Office is in charge of prosecution. Until we can see consensus between those two, it's going to be really difficult for us to figure out a course of action from here."

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty's office said in a statement that she does not have the same authority as the AG to issue an opinion on the issue. 

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