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In the Line of Duty: An in-depth look at the increase in assaults on law enforcement

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department and Palm Springs Police Department are sounding the alarm after there was an increased number of assaults on law enforcement in the last year. 

According to the Palm Springs police crime data report conducted by the police department for 2022, it shows while crime has decreased overall, the number of assaults on Palm Springs police officers rose 72%. These assaults vary from officers thrown to the ground, ran into with cars, even having stuff thrown at them.

Digging deeper into the crime data Mills said 79% of those assaulting officers have also assaulted others as well. He also said that 61% of them were also under the influence and 50% of them by people who were unhoused. 

Courtesy of the Palm Springs Police Dept.

This is also the case for the Riverside County Sheriffs' Department which saw 200 more assault cases on officers in 2022 compared to 2021. Sheriff Chad Bianco said it saw: 

  • 1250 assaults on deputies in 2021
  • 1421 assaults on deputies in 2022
  • As of January 16, 2023 - 75 assaults already and the number is expected to continue increasing.

“It is an obvious, violent encounter more and more often than what it’s ever been in the past. And it really is just people that have zero regard for law,” explained Sheriff Bianco. “They’re doing everything they can to get away with it They don’t care who they hurt. They don’t care who they injure. They don’t care if they kill anyone.”

In just the last month as this report was being conducted, two deputies were killed in the line of duty. Those deputies were Darnell Calhoun and Isaiah Cordero.

Cordero was shot by someone Sheriff Bianco said should have already been in jail.

Calhoun was shot while responding to a domestic violence call. Another responding officer to that same domestic violence call was attacked by the suspect's family according to Sheriff Bianco.

"Now we are there to save them. They called us to come protect them. We go, get murdered, save ourselves, protect ourselves, protect them and they attack us. That is the society we are living in," said Bianco.

Because of the rise in assaults, and recent murders of two deputies Sheriff Bianco and Chief Mills said they are enforcing that no officer/deputy report alone to ensure their safety. Mills said his officers are being asked to hang back until a second responding officer arrives.

Both Mills and Bianco blame recent changes within the laws and court system that don't hold people accountable for their crimes. 

"We're seeing some cracks in the cement of our justice system and it's now coming back in violence against our officers," said Chief Mills. "When people feel that there is no consequence for their violence, they're going to commit acts of violence."

Bianco also blames the legislatures he said who pass laws that make it easy for criminals to get away with things. Sheriff Bianco said it's the criminal that is responsible, but politicians and lawmakers are also promoting a false narrative against law enforcement that is empowering criminals. 

Other nearby police stations claim to not have the same issue of assaults on officers on the rise. News Channel 3 reached out to the Indio Police Department, Cathedral City Police Department, Desert Hot Springs Police Department, and California Highway Patrol which all said they didn't have any reported cases. 

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia did respond to News Channel 3 about the concerning rise of assaults on officers at these two departments. His response read:

“The injury and loss of any officer in the line of duty is devastating to our community and of deep concern. Making certain our local public safety agencies are equipped with the resources they need is an absolute priority for us. Comprehensive evaluation of each incident can better guide and inform these critical policy discussions to help prevent future tragedies and protect our heroes as they safeguard our neighborhoods. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones.”

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Article Topic Follows: In-Depth

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez is a news reporter who joined the KESQ News Channel 3 team in June 2021. Learn more about Crystal here.


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