SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – After a year of civil unrest, assaults on police officers are up across the country.
The work of the Sacramento Police Department is being watched now more than ever.READ MORE: Counter Lawsuit Filed After Restraining Order Against Sacramento City Hall New Hire Was Denied
More Black Americans were killed by police officers across the country. It’s contributed to a growing “anti-police” sentiment. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn has noticed.
“We’ve also, over the last year, had a significant increase in assaults on officers,” he said.
Chief Hahn has experienced the anti-police movement first hand. A Black police officer for 34 years, he’s been called a sellout and “Uncle Tom” from members of the community.
“I grew up in Oak Park, I’m African American. I’ve been arrested when I was 16 for assault on an officer. My younger brother was murdered in this city. We have to deal with these issues of difference, we have to deal with these issues of race,” he said.
This period of anti-trust in the police has changed training so officers are better protected.READ MORE: River Cats' Fans Brave The Heat In First Game WIth Full Capacity Availability
Now, the Sacramento Police Department is keeping its officers further away from crime scenes, sometimes by using drones instead. They carry an arsenal of tools for de-escalation techniques and they’re training with virtual reality to simulate real-life situations.
Law enforcement expert and former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness says police departments across the county are seeing a major drop in people applying for the job.
“The behavior is completely different, and conduct you would never see before is becoming commonplace. Now murders of police officers are up,” he said.
For Chief Hahn, he’s seeing a national drop, too, but says the community and his department will need to tackle the issue of public trust together.
“This community and every community across this county needs police officers. They need good police officers,” Chief Hahn said.
This week, the Sacramento City Council changed a controversial police reform bill, which includes officers using deadly force only as a last resort. It replaces a more restrictive one they adopted a month ago, which required officers to go through a set of exercises before they pull the trigger even in an active shooting situation.MORE NEWS: Cooling Centers Open In Sacramento Region This Week
This new language, which the chief says allows officers to protect themselves, has full support from the Sacramento Police Department.