DENVER — Denver Public Schools are starting the school year with no school resource officers. Instead, they are using new type of officers who have the ability to write tickets to students.
DPS requested permission to ticket students for minor municipal offenses and the City Attorney and City Department of Public Safety granted them that authority.
Previously, there were 17 student resource officers who were employees of the Denver Police Department that were housed in the school buildings. Now DPS has created a group of 22 patrol officers.
DPS Spokesperson Will Jones said that the officers are spread thin as they have to respond to 200 schools with 93,000 students and 14,000 employees.
“They are not and will never be the equivalent of SROs who were in one building 100 percent of the time. Their focus is on responding to significant safety threats, not on criminalization of students.” …Will Jones, DPS
The authority will allow DPS to ensure that any ticketing that does still occur is consistent with the district’s goal to drastically decrease ticketing for our students, particularly for our students of color.”
Below is the list of citations the DPS Patrol Team has the authority to write:
- 54-419(a) Parking in private driveway or on private property
- 54-482(a), (b), (c) Parking in accordance with posted signs, violations generally
- 38-173 Possession of injection devices
- 38-175(c) Possession or consumption of marijuana
- 38-51.8 Petty theft
- 38-61 Destruction of public property
- 38-71 Destruction of private Property
- 38-92 Threats
- 38-93 Assault
- 38-93.1 Public fighting
- 38-102 Possession of graffiti materials prohibited
- 38-115 Trespass
- 38-117 Dangerous or deadly weapons
- 38-119 Certain knives unlawful
- 38-127 Throwing stones or missiles
Before exercising this authority, the document also says that officers in DPS have to complete a mandatory training program.
According to the Denver Department of Public Safety, they granted DPS’ request in April, and officers were trained over the summer, however, Jones said the delegation is not yet finalized and is not issuing citations at this time.
FOX31/KWGN reached out to multiple agencies involved with this project and neither of them could confirm whether or not these officers were armed.
The DPS Board of Education approved a resolution in the summer of 2020 to end all SRO contracts with the Denver Police Department. Part of the reasoning for this decision is the belief that the close proximity of law enforcement to students on campuses directly contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline.
On the DPS website, they cite that studies show that Black and Brown students arrested for minor school infractions are more likely to end up in the adult criminal system.
The resolution called for a 25% reduction in the number of SROs in schools by Dec. 31, 2020, with a goal of ending all SRO roles in schools by the end of the 2020-21 school year.