JOPLIN, Mo. — Assaults on law enforcement are on the rise nationally, with more than 60,000 cases in 2020 alone.
“It’s hard to turn on the news or, you know, sign on a computer without seeing something about assault on a law enforcement officer somewhere in the United States,” said JPD Chief Sloan Rowland.
Something that’s on the rise in Joplin.
Year-end numbers show the total doubled from 15 in 2021 to 31 in 2022.
Joplin Police Chief Sloan Rowland says that a negative view of law enforcement is driving the response in some cases, a lack of respect that was less likely to be the case in the past. And that’s not just in Joplin.
“More of an attitude shift. There’s more questioning and resistance to asking for information. And this is a national thing,” said CJPD Chief Mark McCall.
Which doesn’t always translate in quite the same way in Carl Junction, according to Police Chief Mark McCall.
“Luckily, so far, we’ve seen a little bit more aggressiveness and some resistance. But we haven’t seen the actual violence and resisting that,” said McCall
Chief Rowland points out that the difference in size is a key factor.
“You know, kind of what gets lost in the job a lot of times when you look at the base population of 52,000. Then the numbers aren’t actually 52,000. We police well over 200,000 people on any given day. So we have a lot more interaction with citizens and a lot of police departments do we make a lot more car stops a lot more calls for service,” said Rowland.
Rowland adds the trend only emphasizes the importance of training for police officers.
“There is always at risk. There’s no easy day there’s no routine call, no routine car stop. We try to train our officers to understand that there’s an element of risk in anything you do. So you always have to be aware of that and be prepared and hopefully be trained to overcome that,” said Rowland.