DENVER (KDVR) — Leaders with Denver Public Schools will make an announcement Friday regarding the role of police officers in schools. The announcement comes after Minneapolis Public Schools cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department following the death of George Floyd.
School resource officers have had a presence in Denver Public Schools since 2004. There are currently 18 school resource officers in the district throughout high schools and several middle schools.
“Our school resource officers are there to provide that level of safety. If there are incidents in school we are able to have them in our buildings where they can respond quickly to any threats or any incidents that occur on campus,” said Winna MacLaren, spokesperson with DPS.
Board of Education member Tay Anderson says he’d like to see the district end its agreement with the Denver Police Department and use those funds for restorative practice coordinators, mental health support and full-time school nurses.
“We know that we’re still going to be able to work with the Denver Police Department to make sure they have a fast response time to our schools and any sort of lockdown situation they would be at our schools in less than 90 seconds,” said Anderson.
Anderson says there are students and parents on both sides of the issue and the goal is to gather input from all parties and stakeholders throughout the summer.
Stacey Collis, former president of the Colorado Association of School Resource Officers says he believes there is a misconception of what a school resource officer does.
“I think it is a wrong philosophy to not have them in schools. They are a piece of the puzzle of working with students,” said Collis.
Collis says school resource officers are more than police officers. He says they are also trained in mental health and special education needs as well as informal counseling.