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  1. #1
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    1 in 4 Maryland Cops Assaulted on the Job

    1 in 4 Maryland Cops Assaulted on the Job
    Washington 11/13/2006

    By Joe Palazzolo (Capital News Service)

    More than one out of four Maryland police officers was assaulted on the job in 2005, according to FBI data released Monday.

    That appeared to be the worst ratio in the country, but FBIofficials warned against ranking states based on the data because of the disparity among police agencies' record-keeping methods.

    Assaults on police officers in Maryland climbed 4 percent between 2004 and 2005, bucking a 3 percent decline nationally.

    About 4,020 police officers -- 27 percent of all non-federal law enforcers employed in Maryland -- were kicked, punched, slapped, bitten, stabbed, clubbed, or shot at last year. Until May of this year, assaulting a police officer in Maryland was a misdemeanor, except in extreme cases.

    Personal weapons, such as an assailant's hands, fists, feet or teeth, accounted for 3,416 of the assaults on Maryland police officers.

    Officers were assaulted with firearms 80 times, knives or sharp objects 42 times, and "other dangerous weapons" -- which the FBI identifies as virtually any object capable of producing injury -- 483 times.

    While the FBI data did not include state-by-state breakdowns of the circumstances and time of the assaults, national figures showed the largest percentage of assaults stemmed from disturbance calls and occurred between midnight and 2 a.m. About 64 percent of the officers assaulted last year were alone on vehicle patrols.

    The accuracy of the FBI's Uniform Reporting Program depends largely on the state and local jurisdictions that supply the data, said FBI spokesman Paul Bresson.

    "The agencies that are involved in very diligent record-keeping are sometimes portrayed unfavorably," Bresson said.

    Police officials have said repeatedly that the precision of their records and full disclosure to federal authorities create the illusion that Maryland is more dangerous than other states with lesser record-keeping practices.

    But the numbers, staggering as they are, suggest there is some truth to Maryland's ranking.

    The 19th most populous state, Maryland ranked 4th in number of assaults on police officers, behind California, Texas, and Florida, which rank 1st, 2nd and 4th in terms of population, according to 2005 census data.

    Police officers in Virginia -- a state that also prides itself on its recordkeeping -- were assaulted a third as often as their counterparts in Maryland.

    Of the agencies in the District of Columbia, only the Metro Transit Police's records were represented in the data. MTPD officers were assaulted half as often -- usually with personal weapons -- as Maryland police.

    For years, Maryland law enforcers lobbied the state for a specific law that would make it a felony to assaut a police officer. Before the Law Enforcement Officer Protection Act was enacted in May, assaulting an officer drew a misdemeanor charge unless a firearm was present or the police officer suffered serious injury.

    In 2005, 34 states, including all Maryland's border states, had laws making it a felony to assault police officers.

    "If you go into Nordstrom and pinch a purse, you've committed a felony," said O'Brien Atkinson, vice president of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police. "But if you got stopped by a police officer and punched him in the face -- that was a misdemeanor."

    Atkinson said he and other law enforcement officials attributed the spike in assaults on police officers in part to permissive laws.

    "On the streets, people are concerned with getting put in jail.

    They're not concerned about catching a (misdemeanor) charge," Atkinson said.

    "We remain hopeful that making it a felony is going to reduce the incidence of assault. But it's going to take a while to resonate in the criminal world."

    More than the new law, the frequent assaults reflect the policing mantra in Maryland, which stresses interaction over reaction, Atkinson said.

    "Maryland is very proactive with regard to law enforcement, while a lot of other states with smaller police agencies are very reactive," Atkinson said. "If you show up after a crime is committed, the chance of being assaulted is slim to none. But if you're out there patrolling, engaging the public, chances are you're going to run into these situations."

    Alex Ray, spokesman for the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, said that this administration's aggressive public safety policies and an increase in gang activity around the state have conspired to drive up the number of assaults.

    Gang membership in Montgomery and Prince George's counties has surged in the past year, increasing by 30 percent in some parts, and spilled over into neighboring Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford counties.

    Police around the state have felt "strong pressure from the governor's office in terms of cracking down on crime," Ray said. "But the infiltration of gangs has more to do with the assaults. These gangs are crazy, they live in a jungle world they have no regard for life, limb or property -- or especially police."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Im not suprised. Maryland is a rough state to work in.

  2. #2
    Trojan 42's Avatar
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    Last edited by Trojan 42; 11-30-06 at 09:50 AM. Reason: FTL
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    Iron Man's Avatar
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    You are kidding right?

  4. #4
    Hannibal's Avatar
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    4 out of 4 criminals who assault police officers deserve some stick time.

    "Stupid should hurt."

  5. #5
    General Patten's Avatar
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    um... what genius decided to make it a misdemeanor to assault a police officer?
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  6. #6
    Star Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42 View Post
    Who me? No. At all the stations I worked at every street officer was assaulted at least once a year, ( punched or kicked etc and probably more like once a week).

    Directly related to the lack of weapons (ie guns - tasers - oc) that you do not carry and cannot use on the scumbag that needs it.

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    In NC its a misdemeanor also. Plus NC has a damn law that says a person has the right to fight an unlawful arrest by any means necessary up to but not including deadly force. How many criminals do you arrest every day that don't think they should be arrested???? Exactly, and in NC they are basically telling them its ok to fight the cops, the only good thing is not many know of the law.
    Last edited by BigDawg; 11-23-06 at 08:11 AM. Reason: computer missed words
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  8. #8
    Standard Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Man View Post
    Directly related to the lack of weapons (ie guns - tasers - oc) that you do not carry and cannot use on the scumbag that needs it.
    I don't think the amount of weapons you carry will have any affect on most police assaults or injuries from arrests.

    At some point you have to get hands on and put cuffs on this is the point that most assaults and injuries occur. Even if someone is struggling you will almost never be justified in shooting them, you will be to close to use OC/CS/CN/Mace etc without risk of cross contamination. Taser could be used but will require more officers to be present which could mean a wait which is also potentially more dangerous.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by General Patten View Post
    um... what genius decided to make it a misdemeanor to assault a police officer?
    Unless they've changed it, assaulting a Public Safety Officer in Oregon is a misdemeanor if it's a cop, but a felony if it's a firefighter or EMT.
    "I'm not a coward,
    I've just never been tested
    I'd like to think that if I was,
    I would pass"
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  10. #10
    Iron Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by General Patten View Post
    um... what genius decided to make it a misdemeanor to assault a police officer?
    It was considered just an assault. Punching and kicking in Maryland are 2nd Degree assault offenses in Maryland which is a Misdemeanor. It was treated like a civilian on civilian assault.


    Now its a felony

  11. #11
    Star Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave View Post
    I don't think the amount of weapons you carry will have any affect on most police assaults or injuries from arrests.

    At some point you have to get hands on and put cuffs on this is the point that most assaults and injuries occur. Even if someone is struggling you will almost never be justified in shooting them, you will be to close to use OC/CS/CN/Mace etc without risk of cross contamination. Taser could be used but will require more officers to be present which could mean a wait which is also potentially more dangerous.
    I have to say that in my 9 years I've never used my expandable baton except to open it once as a show of force. I have used OC which was VERY effective. Yes there's a possibility of cross contamination if the user is careless, but the effects are minimal since most guys would be on the same page. The wost cases I've seen of OC cross contamination was when it was used inside a house with a ceiling fan on. The worst of it hits the BG and the rest is minor mist. There's guys who want in the fight so bad that I've had worse hits from my own partners than any OC mist.

    Now the Tasers are WONDERFUL !!! I've used mine several times, and each time get immediate results. The Taser can be used a much greater distance from the BG than he can reach with his arms. The probes we use are 21ft in length (the wires I mean). 99% of the people Tased do not need a second one to realize that it friggin hurts. Verbal commands of things to do (turn over, put your hands behind your back etc) are followed almost instantly when they realize you can and will do it again while you verbally warn them of same. I have also had the almost all of the suspects apologize (several times each) that they made me use the Taser. It's a "Get right with God" experience. They were afraid they were really being shot or dying, and have a true appreciation for the fact that they are still alive.

    I do 100% believe that the defensive weapons that you carry impact the suspects actions. The Tasers were used by officers daily in my Department in the first few months, but as time went on they dropped significantly. People spread the word that it SUCKS to be hit with a Taser. Initially people thought it was a real gun and were like "What are you gonna shoot me". Yes we do,,, we deploy the Taser into them and when the muscles release and the shock is over they realize they are on the ground and can feel again. The whole time we were more than arms distance away. The officer does not get into the fight until the suspect is compliant. We just stand there calmly. If they are not compliant then they get a second hit, or third or so on till they figure it out. It DRAMATICALLY reduced on the job injuries (across the US) because we were no longer hurting arms and hands and knees and backs rolling around on the ground.

    Tasers can be used by a lone officer. I have used mine in lone situations before. You hold onto the Taser until you believe they are compliant. Then you hold it until you go hands on. The Taser is very close and immediately ready to be used again if they fight because the probes are still in the BG. They know it too, so they stop resisting. They DO NOT want it again because they did not think that it was any fun the first time.

    I've taken a hit in training and I know,,, it SUCKS.

    You should go to the Taser company site and see some of the very effective uses for the Taser. http://www.taser.com/ It really is a good defensive tool.


    Sorry for the rambling on.......
    ...........................................

  12. #12
    Trojan 42's Avatar
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    Content deleted. Public area = FTL
    Last edited by Trojan 42; 11-30-06 at 09:52 AM. Reason: FTL
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  13. #13
    Iron Man's Avatar
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    No offense to my European brothers, but you could not police in the United States without a weapon.

    I guess thats how different our cultures are?

  14. #14
    Star Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42 View Post
    I wouldn't consider using a Taser on an unarmed person. However if I was Armed and feared the person could take my gun, then that would be different........
    Why not?? It's the PERFECT use! The BG refuses to follow the directions giiven. You feel a fight/physical confrontation is about to occurr (and can articulate such in a report). Then ZZZZZTTTT!! The Taser ride is over in 5 seconds and they have a MUCH better understanding of why it's important to listen to the lawful command given to them by the Police Officer thats doing his job. They can follow the rules or move somewhere that there are no rules.... Now this is in a situation when you think that a problem will occurr (officer to beligerant or intoxicated subject: sir leave now, or sir put your hands behind your back, or sir stop hitting so-and-so).

    Most agencies, including my own actually prefer we use electric stun devices over "hands on" techniques when the situation allows us to deploy it safely. {If "hands on" is what a reaction tells us to do in an immediate situation then its ok, its just preferred to use the electric device if time allows us to deploy it}

    An example of that is on a domestic call. Guy is intox and uncooperative. You ask him several times to sit down or stop interfering while you investigate. Guy says something to raise your fear that a battery or fight is about to occur so you decide to place some cuffs on the guy for officer safety to control the situation. You direct him to turn around and put his hands behind his back and his reply is something like "make me" or "no" or "this is bullshit, I did nothing wrong and you can't arrest me".

    These words combined with the suspects actions lead you to believe he will not physically cooperate (very angry demeanor, clenched fists, 1000 yard stare, fighting stance blading his body) then pop,,, he's on the floor with the Taser. Most times they see it removed and immediately stop and turn around and put their hands behind their back. But if they don't then why hurt both of you? He gets 5 seconds of discomfort while we stand still and very calmly avoid injury.

    Another use is when an arrested BG wont get in the cruiser and wants to kick at the door or officers in the doorway trying to close him in the car. I take the probe cartridge off and use the Taser on the skin in a large bundle of nerves on the body and get immediate results. This is alot better than reaching in from the other side of the cruiser and grabbing their handcuffed wrists and yanking them through the car. Even though the action was fully justified, it allows the suspect to claim police brutality if his shoulder pops out of place or his wrist is injured. You also face the possibility that the officer pulling the guy through the cruiser tweaks his back or gets headbutted by the suspect. The Taser leaves no permanent injury, and it's unpleasant enough that they don't kick at the Officers or the cruiser doors again. They decide to slide in under their own power and no injuries occur.

    The Taser was the best tool to give Police in my opinion, and I would not use it (as a sole means of defense) in a situation where I may be disarmed. If the situation is that bad then I use whatever amount of necessary force to remain in control of my pistol,,, including using the pistol if it gets that ugly. We are told not to use a Taser in a knife or real gun fight.

    We are not using the Taser as a confession tool. The arcs (shocks) are recorded electronically for court purposes so we can't be accused of using it for the hell of it. We justify what resistance was being encountered and have to account for each use in a report.

    I hope this helps to understand why the use of the Taser on an unarmed man is really much safer for all people involved, at least from my point of view.
    Last edited by Star Man; 11-25-06 at 04:08 AM.
    ...........................................

  15. #15
    Iron Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42 View Post
    Since they scrapped the height requirement for the police and you get girls of 4 foot tall trying to do the job, they need all the help they can get, I suppose.

    If you can't handle yourself you don't belong in LE. How is a small girl supposed to be able to handle herself against a 6'3 240lbs intoxicated person? I'd have a hard enough time.... much less a small girl.

  16. #16
    Star Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42 View Post
    They are on a limited issue here, mostly to our firearms units but are considered a Less Lethal option and deployed against knives bats etc. I think they have there place and there is a need for them, however in the the examples you give I would not consider the use, there have been Taser caused deaths remember. Suspects that we feel are likely to cause trouble are conveyed by police van, so it is easier to get them in without too much effort. As I've said different methods of policing from you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42
    In my 30 years I can think of only two incidents a Taser would have been useful to me. Both of those involved suspects with knives and both of those were arrested by me, with just a very minor injury.

    That's what I'm saying,,,,, the Taser is for the "less leathal" times. I NEVER will face a knife or bat or bottle or anything that State statutes considers a Deadly Weapon with a Taser. Theres no guarantee that the probes will take a good hit and be effective. Deadly force is met with deadly force. It's just too bad they brought a knife to a gun fight.

    The deaths,, and I am not quoting just generalizing (150 out of 40,000 uses of Taser) are attributed to "Excited delirium" which means the Medical Examiner determined that a heart condition / drug use / psycosis or some other medical event caused the death. These deaths would have occurred anyway, ESPECIALLY with a rolling on the ground stressfull thumping he would take without the Taser use.

    Grins, as for the van,,, no need, once they ride the lightning they would get on a bicycle cooperatively to avoid it again,,,

    Different views, different methods. I love Tasers, and hope that every department gives their officers the opportunity to use them if the officer desires.

    Stay safe.
    ...........................................

  17. #17
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    Wink Weapons check

    All I know is so far...
    Baton - never used
    OC - used once, drawn many times with great results
    tasers - what's that?
    mouth - running 24/7 and always effective
    pen - never fails to get the last word

    I've been fortunate thus far and I pray that I continue to be covered by God's grace and mercy when dealing with thugs.

    Oh and I'm only 5'5" and 153 lbs.

  18. #18
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    When I worked in kentucky it was a Misdemeanor, but we would charge them under federal, and the I.G didn't play, but have not had that yet in florida.
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