ENID, Okla. — Enid Public Schools and campus police Officer Mike Dods have agreed to resolve their dispute in the interest of ensuring safety of staff and students, according to a statement released by EPS.
Dods will return to work Monday to serve EPS middle schools and elementary schools, and administrators and campus police officers will receive training on proper reporting procedures to ensure parents, students and staff are safe, according to the statement. EPS also will begin to review campus police officer policies and procedures used in other Oklahoma school districts to see if EPS policies and procedures need to be revised.
"It's mutually agreed that he's going to focus on the elementary and middle school arenas," Oklahoma Education Association attorney Heath Merchen said. "He's excited to focus on that area, so it's a great result all around."
Dods’ job had been on the line due to alleged retaliation by EPS administration for disobeying directions to “hide acts of violent student conduct and student threats on multiple occasions,” according to Oklahoma Education Association, a teacher’s union supporting Dods.
Dods reported such violent incidents to Garfield County District Attorney’s Office despite threats made to his livelihood, the OEA said. Administrators eventually demoted Dods and issued him a termination letter in late October. EPS officials had denied Dods' allegations.
A hearing before the EPS Board of Education on the matter had been scheduled for noon Thursday, but that hearing has been canceled. The board will meet to finalize the agreement between EPS and Dods.
Dods, the former Enid High School campus police chief, conveyed his gratitude to EPS for taking this step and is looking forward to continuing to serve the district, according to the statement.
"Enid Public Schools and Dods are proud to jointly reaffirm their commitment to student safety," according to the release.
"One of the things we requested, just to ensure a smooth transition, is that the parties and administrators that (Dods) is working with be at the elementary and middle school levels," Merchen said. "It'll take a bit of time for tensions and emotions to heal with the folks who have been involved and everything that has happened thus far, but we're confident those relationships will mend over time."
While Dods won't be serving Enid High School, another EPS officer is expected to return from training soon and will be on the campus, according to the district.
In the meantime, EPS will continue working with Enid Police Department to provide an officer for the high school.
Enid Public Schools Police Department currently has two vacancies, according to the district.
When allegations were first leveled against the district in late October, it was the OEA's intention to see Dods fully reinstated as campus police chief.
"It's my understanding from Officer Dods that if he is reinstated to the chief position ... there wouldn't be any problem, and I'm hopeful that is the stance the district will arrive at," Merchen said on Oct. 31.
However, under the agreement reached, Dods will be employed as an EPS police officer, but not as chief.
"Officer Dods isn't concerned with the designation or title, he just wants to be able to serve the students of the district," Merchen said.
Despite the difference in rank, Dods is being granted the same pay he was receiving when he held the title of chief, Merchen said.
"The main goal is to ensure that he's returning, all students are protected and that Dods and the district have a smooth transition and are able to reconcile and work together," Merchen said.