SAINT PAUL, MN. – On Wednesday, the Attorney General’s Office issued new guidance on how legislation passed in this year’s education budget governs the conduct of school resource officers (SROs). The office’s opinion reiterates that officers are permitted to use “reasonable force” in any situation that poses a risk of bodily harm, and clarified that the law “does not limit the types of reasonable force that may be used by public officers to carry out their lawful duties.”
Later Wednesday, Gov. Walz and legislative leadership held a productive meeting with law enforcement leaders, and on Friday, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers issued a letter acknowledging and welcoming the revised understanding of the law.
Senator John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) was among a group of lawmakers invited to speak with Gov. Walz during these efforts at finding a resolution. Hoffman issued the following statement regarding the latest developments:
“I want to thank the Governor for meeting with us to discuss the uncertainty about implementing this law, and how it has affected the relationship between districts and law enforcement throughout the state, across Senate District 34, and especially in the largest district: Anoka-Hennepin School District. We all want our students, teachers and staff to feel safe in their environment. There is a reasonable balance between appropriate uses of force to prevent crime and dangerous situations in our schools while not causing undue harm to students. We will continue this important discussion in the months and years to come. This binding opinion does not limit the types of reasonable force that may be used by public officers to carry out their lawful duties, which is consistent with Minnesota Statute 609.06. This will provide the necessary clarity law enforcement need to return our valued SROs to the schools they serve as soon as possible.”