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Posted on: September 12, 2023

Statement from Public Safety Director Jason Posel

PS Official Statement 1:1

Statement from Public Safety Director Jason Posel

The Woodbury Public Safety Department has a long-standing tradition of working collaboratively with our schools to ensure a safe, secure learning environment by providing contractual School Resource Officer services and non-contractual special event policing services to East Ridge High School and Woodbury High School. As Public Safety Director, I have fully supported our officers in the schools. To do that effectively and safely we need to maintain the full discretion and authority employing the training practices as licensed peace officers for our state.

The new, significant limitations by the 2023 legislature created a separate set of expectations on when School Resource Officers can intercede have placed our officers in an untenable situation. Therefore, after consultation with our legal counsel and careful deliberation of the City Council, we regretfully need to suspend our existing agreement and discontinue providing School Resource Officers in the schools until the language in the new state law is addressed by the legislature.

While our school resource officers will not be working under contract, we are committed to working closely with our school district to develop a plan to ensure the safety and security of our schools. In the meantime, during school hours, we will have additional officers working patrol who will be dedicated to responding to calls for service at the schools. In addition, we have requested the school district allow our officers to conduct regular walk throughs at East Ridge and Woodbury High Schools during the school day.

In the interest of public safety and to ensure our officers can safely respond to any incident, we have also requested that the school district allow patrol officers at school special events. These patrol officers will not be contracted officers of the school district and will be provided at the expense of the city. They would exercise their judgment and discretion simply as licensed peace officers.

We hope that in the future we will be able to reinstate our agreement and re-initiate our School Resource Officer program, but we cannot do that in good conscience with the current legislation. We look forward to what we hope is a speedy response by the Governor and state legislature to address this legislation in a special session. Until such time, we will continue to support both our police officers and the school district as best we can, within the new confines of law.

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