It’s not exactly a secret that we are living in a time where nastiness, aggression and incivility are seemingly at an all-time high. You don’t need to go much farther than your Facebook news feed or Twitter timeline to see ample evidence of that fact.
But the toxicity of social media is spilling over into the real world (or perhaps it’s vice versa?). Whatever the causal direction, Canby Police Department Lt. Jorge Tro, a veteran of law enforcement for over 23 years, says that instances of aggression and defiance toward officers is definitely on the rise.
Though the Canby Police Department does not necessarily keep track of such things, Lt. Tro says he reviews the calls that come in, and the numbers of aggressive incidents toward police are increasing, as are the instances where individual officers have to request backup for traffic stops or other routine matters.
The reasons for such an increase aren’t clear, but many in law enforcement believe it’s linked to increases in drug use and mental illness — as well as a lack of support and services for those suffering from mental health crises.
The solution to the problem is not really any clearer than its cause. Increased police presence and visibility (i.e., more officers) would be helpful, of course, but the city of Canby, like all local governments, has a finite amount of tax revenue that must be divided between many competing interests and needs.
Outreach is also important, because the more the community sees police in a positive, non-enforcement setting, the less likely they might be to be aggressive or violent toward them under different circumstances. This is something Canby PD already does a pretty good job in, but Tro admits they could always do more.
In the end, it probably won’t be any one answer. Complex problems require multifaceted solutions.