Glendale police concerned about uptick of assaults on officers

Assaults on Glendale police officers were up for the first six months this year, prompting concerns among officials that the trend could continue its rise.

There were 19 assaults on officers from January to June this year, up from 12 for the same period last year, according to a Glendale Police Department report.

During the attacks, officers were scratched, bitten, kicked, punched, elbowed and spat on, according to the report. In most cases, police were responding to calls about domestic assault and drug or alcohol activity.

Two officers had to undergo a battery of tests to check for Hepatitis C after their skin made contact with a bloody parolee, according to police reports. The initial tests came back negative, but they still must undergo tests for three months to be sure they’re not infected.

Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa attributed the increasingly violent behavior toward police to a jump in substance-abuse-related arrests and the state's realignment of its prison system, which he said has “displaced the criminal element” into local communities.

Still, De Pompa said the department’s officers are capable of handling most violent situations without the use of extreme force.

“Our police officers are highly trained and very professional,” he added.

Glendale police officers were involved in fewer use-of-force incidents in 2011 than past years, according to a report released earlier this year. Use-of-force incidents decreased by 43% compared to when the department began tracking them in 2009.

More than 53,000 officers were assaulted nationwide in 2010, according to the FBI.

Of those assaults, 26% of the officers involved sustained injuries and another 27% were attacked with weapons, also sustaining injuries.

Another 33% of the assaults, according to the FBI, occurred during disturbance calls.

Twenty-nine assaults on Glendale police officers were reported for all of last year.

While most incidents were minor and officers generally returned to work the next day, some assaults put officers out of work for a few days, leaving the department with fewer resources.

“It’s kind of like a snowball rolling down hill,” De Pompa said.


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