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Is violence against law enforcement on the rise? Local departments weigh in

Posted at 9:07 PM, Apr 29, 2019

SOUTHERN COLORADO – It’s been a violent past few days for Colorado law enforcement.

From Colorado Springs to Pueblo – there seems to be no hesitation from criminals on who they’ll hurt.

There were three separate incidents in the last four days. News 5 spoke with police officers in Colorado Springs and Pueblo to find out if they feel like things are getting worse.

Captain Kenny Rider of the Pueblo Police Department said, “Our officers are on edge.”

It began as a simple traffic stop in Pueblo on Friday night. An officer was trying to make contact with a driver who had a warrant out of Weld County.

Rider said, “The officer approached the vehicle and was attempting to get that person into custody, and that person drove away from the scene very quickly and actually injured the officer’s knee as he drove away.”

The situation quickly escalated as the man was eventually found barricaded inside a home and the SWAT team was deployed.

“That suspect came out of the house with his handgun pointed at our SWAT officers and they did shoot him, and he is deceased…this is just our third officer-involved shooting this year which is scary. Suspects aren’t afraid to shoot at police and get into deadly confrontations.”

Another incident happened on Sunday morning. Colorado State Patrol says a man stole a trooper’s patrol cruiser in Pueblo and led a more than 30-mile high-speed chase past Colorado City before getting arrested. During the incident a trooper’s hand was slammed in the door.

While Pueblo Police say that yes, there is increased danger for officers, Colorado Springs Police feel somewhat different.

Lieutenant Jim Sokolik said, “Are people more willing to fire at officers? To be honest the reality is is we have groups of individuals, criminals, who are willing to fire at anybody.”

Sokolik has been with Colorado Springs Police for more than 20 years.

“The level of violence ebbs and flows.”

A recent incident involving Colorado Springs Police happened late Sunday night. Shots were fired from a car on the southeast side of town and it’s unclear whether it was aimed at a police officer nearby.

Colorado Springs Police say when looking at national statistics Colorado Springs is a very safe place to live compared to other cities.

As far as how officers deal with violence, departments say training starts from day one and continues throughout officers’ careers.