Jan 3, 2013 8:43 PM by Andy Koen
COLORADO SPRINGS - There have been at least 102 assaults on officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department during the past three years. The highest year for assaults was 2010 in which there were 41.
The number dropped to 28 in 2011 but then climbed to at least 33 in 2012. Data from that year is still considered incomplete and expected to increase.
Instructors at the Colorado Springs Police Academy say the numbers are concerning but not all that common.
"People always love the police department and fire fighters, that's our community," says instructor Shawn Mahon.
"They love their first responders, but I think there's a small percentage of the community that just have a dislike for first responders and I think we see that sometimes."
The assaults would suggest that small percentage is becoming more violent. Mahon says he personally has noticed the shift in culture.
Whether it's violence in video games and movies, or simply a lack of respect, he says criminals seem to be more desensitized toward their fellow man.
"And I don't want to blame it all on that but I think there's more that the kids are seeing than when I was growing up here 40 years ago."
He says the department stresses to officers the importance building relationships in the community to counter that indifference.
"The more they interact with people, whether it's someone that's maybe on the wrong side of the law or the good side of the law; the more that you interact with people you can get a lot of buy-in just by talking to them," Mahon said.
The two most dangerous situations officers face are simple traffic stops and domestic violence calls. When an officer pulls a car over, they are never completely sure of who is behind the wheel what may be happening in the car. With domestic violence call, the situation can be so emotionally charged that sudden unexpected reactions can happen in either the suspect or the victim.