LMPD chief outlines what officers can and can't do at schools in - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD chief outlines what officers can and can't do at schools in letter to JCPS superintendent

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – In a letter sent to JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens last week, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad outlined LMPD’s responsibilities to Jefferson County Public Schools when it comes to student safety.

In response to concerns over student and teacher safety, JCPS teachers and faculty -- along with school resource officers -- attended a meeting two weeks ago to discuss the role of police in student behavior situations.

“It was obvious from the facilitated discussions that there is a general misunderstanding as to when to call the police and our responsibilities when we arrive,” Chief Conrad wrote in the letter, which Hargens received Monday.

Conrad explained that perceptions about when officers were allowed to step in seem to be unclear to JCPS staff members and that he “wanted to clearly outline” the duties of police in schools.

“Much of the discussion at this meeting focused on specific examples where officers could not lawfully act,” Conrad wrote.

Conrad noted that JCPS and LMPD must work closely together to continue to ensure safety in schools and promised to keep working with the district to improve.

The following is a breakdown of Conrad’s explanation of officer responsibility:

What police are allowed to do on school property:

  • Legally, police officers are authorized to make an arrest (or issue a citation) for misdemeanors committed in the officer’s presence; or for felonies where probably cause exists.
  • This should include circumstances where children are extremely disruptive (including assaults or destruction of property), there is a threat directed towards the safety of the school, or any criminal instance occurs that severely jeopardizes the safety and sanctity of the school environment.

When officers cannot intervene:

  • In most cases, officers could not lawfully remove a child from a bus after order has been restored.
  • Another situation where officers could not lawfully intervene would involve removing disruptive children from a classroom where not violation of law had occurred.

Conrad’s outline of officer responsibility to JCPS:

  • Officers will respond any time we are called and we will take appropriate action to regain order to any situation. 
  • We will assist your staff and faculty in any investigation that may require police attention. 

Police cannot “enforce administrative regulations,” which include:

  • Student disobedience
  • Minor altercations
  • Verbal arguments
  • Violations of JCPS rules
  • Truancy
  • Any instance where officers do not have a legal right to intervene

"In some cases faculty members have requested that officers arrest a student," Conrad wrote. "When problematic behavior becomes a violation of law is a decision the officer of the scene must make, and therefore it cannot be arbitrarily identified by a faculty member or other school staff."

You can read the full letter here.

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