It’s a sad fact that in our nation virtually every school from elementary all the way through college now must have at least one SRO (School Resource Officer) on duty at all times. These SROs are on-duty police officers who like any other have sworn to serve and protect. In most states, they are not employed by the school or the school board. Yet it seems that despite this fact an SRO with the Warren, OH police department was escorted from the elementary school in which he was working.
It seems that after warning the Principal of the school numerous warnings for parking in a marked handicap space, the SRO (an LEO with the Warren, OH PD) issued the Principal a citation. Following this, the principal of the school ordered the school’s business manager and head of security to escort the LEO from the campus.
According to Michael Currington, Warren PD union representative, the officer did, in fact, issue the principal several warnings. Keep in mind that marked handicap spaces no matter where are covered under ADA laws, including on school property. Thus, no matter how you look at it, the law states that a citation will be issued, and the vehicle towed if the owner is not present in most states. Citations do vary from one state to the next, ranging from around $250 to as much as $1,000 or more.
Part of the problem may be in the way accessible parking space violations tend to be treated as pretty low on the priority totem. Perhaps the Principal felt that as the “head” of the school they were “above” the law or that because they had no one at the school in need of a marked spot, it didn’t matter. The reality is that Warren PD Officer Adam Chinchic was doing his job as prescribed under numerous federal and state laws designed specifically to protect the handicap.
Instead of being recognized for his diligence in protecting the disabled and enforcing the laws, the Chinchic instead had to endure the embarrassment of being “escorted” from the campus like a common criminal. To make matters worse (if that’s possible), Office Chinchic had to miss a lunch date with one of the little girls at the school.
Who’s in the Right Here?
When you get right down to it, all law enforcement officers are sworn to uphold the law period. No one is above the law, not the officer, not the principal, no one. It is apparent that the officer went above and beyond his duty by taking the time to issue a number of warnings before issuing the citation. At issue, the idea that a school principal feels first that he has the authority to order a law enforcement officer from a public school, second that business manager and head of security went along with it, and third that the same principal feels that he has the authority to park in an accessible parking space. The other issue here is that our educators are supposed to be teaching our children to respect the law. However, when a school principal tries to set himself above the law, it shows our children that it is okay to break the law. The story needs to be followed to see whether or not the Chinchic’s commanders will back him up and whether or not the principal will be made to pay the citation.