SB 198: Transparency Reporting for In-School Police Enforcement
This bill passed the Senate unanimously and the House with a vote of 56-14.
Throughout Utah, schools utilize law enforcement officers (called “school resource officers,” or SROs) to deal with issues that may arise on campus. Nationwide, use of these officers has been controversial given the criminal justice consequences imposed upon young students for mere disciplinary or low-level issues.
No data exists in Utah to understand and inform the public about the use of such officers in the state. To correct this deficiency—and to help parents and the public better understand any issues that may deserve attention and remediation—Senator Jake Anderegg has sponsored Senate Bill 198.
This bill would require the State Board of Education to develop an annual report on the following incidents that occur on school grounds while school is in session:
- arrests of a minor;
- search of seizure by an SRO;
- questioning by an SRO;
- issuance of a criminal citation or ticket;
- filing a delinquency petition; or
- disciplinary actions, including a suspension or expulsion.
This report will be presented annually to the Education Interim Committee and offered to the public, in order to increase awareness regarding how such officers are being used in schools throughout the state.