MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Violence against police officers in Tennessee is on the rise, according to a new report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The Law Enforcement Officers Killed Assaulted (LEOKA) report found 2,313 victims last year, including one officer who was murdered.
It's a 27 percent increase in just three years, TBI said.
TBI doesn't offer a reason behind the increase, but Mike Williams, president of the Memphis Police Association, said he knows what's driving criminals to commit this type of violence.
“It used to be a time when you tell them to put their guns down, they'd put them down, but now they are standing up to officers and it's leading to more physical confrontations or officers being assaulted,” said Williams.
He said controversy over policing in recent years has led to policy changes nationwide, some of which he said criminals take advantage of.
“We have perpetuated an environment that we want to be working-friendly and we want everybody to get along and we just want to show so much love,” said Williams. “And there's nothing wrong with that, but at the same time just like being a parent in a house hold, I'm going to show you love, but I'm also going to hold you accountable and when I have to discipline you, I will.”
The report also found most offenses against officers were considered simple assaults, with the weapon of choice being hands, feet and teeth.
The report said most violence against police officers occurred on highways and other roadways.
The report is issued annually, based on information that law enforcement agencies across Tennessee send to TBI.