More Idaho police officers are being assaulted on the job at the same time the state's overall crime rate ticked down. That's according to the latest crime report compiled by the Idaho State police.
The report shows 266 Idaho police officers were assaulted last year. That’s about one in 10 officers, and it’s an increase of nearly 11 percent from the year before. Idaho's officer-assault rate is now on par with the most recent national average.
The rate of officer assaults has fluctuated in recent years. After a sizeable increase in 2011, officer assaults held steady in 2012. Nationally, assaults on police officers have steadily been going down.
Jerome police chief and president of Idaho’s police chiefs’ association Dan Hall says association members are discussing the increase of officer assaults at their meetings.
“I think all law enforcement officials are deeply concerned about this and I think all of us would like to see continuing efforts through training, policies, whatever we can do to make our officer’s safe,” Hall says.
Though all Idaho law enforcement officials may be concerned, not all of them are directly impacted. The increase in officer assaults is an urban phenomenon. Only one of Hall’s officers was assaulted last year, and most towns the size of Jerome had no assaults.
Boise recorded the most assaults on police officers at 59. That means nearly a quarter of Idaho’s largest police force was assaulted at work last year. The highest ratio was in Coeur d’Alene where more than 40 percent of its officers were assaulted in 2013.
Idaho's overall violent crime rate is still one of the lowest in the nation, according to the most recent data available from the FBI.
Follow reporter Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam
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