How OCSO is trying to keep their duties safe

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(ABC 6 News) – Captain Tim Parkin with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office says it can happen anytime, anywhere. Something as simple as a traffic stop can get violent in the blink of an eye.

Captain Parkin says it’s hard to put a number on it, “you know unfortunately it’s too frequent”.

He says the biggest danger is the unknown. Wednesday an Olmsted County sheriff’s deputy was making a routine traffic stop, but it took a turn when he was punched in the face by the passenger of the vehicle.

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“You could have something like this. Where there’s more here that meets the eye. Someone who is already on federal probation and an assaultive past, who made a comment to the deputy afterwards that he knew he was going back to prison so he might as well fight somebody,” said Capt. Parkin.

Since 2007 the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office has used Crisis Intervention Training. It teaches deputies the best tool in their arsenal is their ability to communicate with others.

“So how do you find ways to verbally de-escalate a situation. You know our goal at the sheriff’s office is to avoid the violence, avoid conflict, avoid having to go hands on with someone unless it’s a last resort,” said Capt. Parkin.

But the Captain says they have plenty of resources made available to officers like mental health check-ins and peer support programs.

“You know it’s important to remember that officers, while they go an assist people and assist others and assist victims you know from time to time, they become victims themselves such as here. So, we want to support that deputy as much as we would support anybody in the community in a time of crisis,” said Capt. Parkin.

The Captain adds the what-ifs are always on the minds of law enforcement, saying their goal at the end of the day is to get home safely.