|Updated: 11/04/2013 9:00 pm
||Published: 11/04/2013 10:23 am
Three state troopers shot three suspects in one month.
At least two of the troopers said the suspects tried to grab their guns. Now, FOX23 investigates the latest numbers that show the assaults on law enforcement officers in Oklahoma are on the rise.
Dashcam video of a suspect shooting at a trooper in Oregon aired on news stations across the country; it clearly shows how dangerous the job can be.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. GeorgeBrown would not allow FOX23 to see any active defensive training, but showed us one of the training rooms in Tulsa where troopers work out.
"Usually we see troopers in here every day, day in, day out," he said.
"How important (is it) to stay in shape?" asked FOX23's Shae Rozzi.
"It's utterly important. We know that officer assaults do happen and deadly assaults seem to be on the rise," he said.
FOX23 was on the scene in west Tulsa on Sept. 21 when the OHP said a trooper shot and killed a man who tried to grab his gun.
The next day a trooper shot a teenager in Norman during a road rage investigation. The trooper has since been cleared.
And in early September, an off-duty trooper said he felt threatened by two men with guns at a midtown Tulsa motel and shot and killed one of the men.
Now, 2012 crime numbers just released from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations show a 4 percent increase in the number of officers assaulted.
One probation officer, Jeffery Matthew McCoy, was shot and killed in Norman during a supervision check.
In 2012, 783 officers were assaulted; that's up from 750 in 2011.
Of the hundreds of officers assaulted about 140 were injured.
How were they assaulted?
In some cases, it was by verbal threat, which is considered an assault.
"If someone issues a verbal threat that can be construed as an assault, a verbal assault on an officer," said Brown.
Brown said troopers are trained to make arrests using the least amount of force necessary.
"Our force starts with orders. When we give someone an order, that is a use of force," he said.
And if that doesn't work, “If we have to step up force we use things like pepper spray and an expandable baton. If someone is aggressively resisting arrest, throwing elbows, punches, knee strikes to harm the trooper, we will step up our use of force," he said.
"Ultimately if the officer or trooper is in fear of death or serious physical harm, they have, under the law, the authority to use deadly force," he added.
Force is something no officer ever wants to use, he says, but may have to in order to protect themselves and the public.
"We constantly have to be prepared for the worst," he said.
FOX23 found the biggest jump in assaults on officers happened during robberies and in ambush situations.