Moorhead Police clarify position after removal of SRO's from city schools

Courtesy: City of Moorhead
Courtesy: City of Moorhead

(Moorhead, MN) -- Moorhead police are sharing additional context as SRO's are temporarily not walking the halls of city schools due to legal concerns on holds and restraining methods. 

The Moorhead Police Department made a clarification on their social media pages after receiving pushback from parents and members of the community. A written statement from the department says the city's insurance provider and several state police associations are placing their focus on new language regarding the ability to intervene in physical altercations. The language could potentially stop SRO's from being able to "control" a student, which could have safety implications for not only people in schools, but legal implications for the officers.

"They have interpreted that a section of the education bill may prohibit any physical contact from an SRO that “controls” a student," said the police department in a written statement. "That could include controlling a student using a “bear hug” or possibly even holding an arm. SROs could face civil and criminal penalties for violating the law."

The department's original release did not include the clarification on holds to control students, but did cite concerns from legal council and state police agencies. The statement also clarified the department's position on the use of holds that restricts breathing of students, saying the hold restrictions are not a part of the reason why they suspended their services.

Moorhead Police Captain Deric Swenson says the new law "removes the standard enforcement authority of officers", and hopes changes can be made to ensure legal safety for officers.