Kenton County Sheriff's Office
Kenton County Sheriff Charles L. Korzenborn

County sheriff removes resource officers from schools in Covington (Ky.) district

Aug. 12, 2017
Kenton County Sheriff says he objects to rules put in place as part of an agreement between school officials and the U.S. Justice Department

The sheriff in Kenton County, Ky., has removed school resource officers from campuses in the Covington district

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn cited a January agreement between the school district and the U.S. Department of Justice as the reason.

"I couldn't work with it," Korzenborn says. "It would mean we could not do things my men are sworn to do."

The sheriff's department had contracted annually with Covington schools for the past several years to provide deputies during the school day.

But the school resource officers came under scrutiny in 2014 after a video surfaced showing an 8-year-old boy at Latonia Elementary with his back to the camera, kicking and crying, his small arms bound in handcuffs around his biceps.

A federal lawsuit ensued against the Kenton County Sheriff's Department and School Resource Officer and Deputy Kevin Sumner. 

The Justice Department investigated the school's restraint policies and negotiated an agreement with the school system on a new set of rules. It states that officers may intervene only in a serious situation that "constitutes an imminent and substantial threat to physical safety or a serious crime."

Korzenborn says his office had tried to work with the school to change the wording, but was unsuccessful. He says he believes the school's agreement with the Justice Department isn't constitutional and has pulled the deputies from the schools on the advice of attorneys. 

"We're law enforcement officers," Korzenborn says. "If we see or have suspicions of something going down, we have to do something about it."

The 2017-18 school year begins for Covington students on Aug. 23.

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