Editorial: Risky business

City officials should take a look at ways to help protect local police officers against violent attacks.

Three times last week, Lawrence police officers have been injured while making arrests.

First, we should thank these officers for their service. The recent statistic should focus attention on the abuse that members of our police force take and the dangers they face. Then we should get busy to see what can be done to reduce the violence directed at them.

We can’t know whether these three incidents represent a trend. We can speculate that they could be connected to the increased presence of methamphetamine abuse in our community, as described in Journal-World news stories. Violence often accompanies this particular form of drug usage, so there may be a link.

The most recent incident happened Tuesday as police responded to a burglar alarm. It should be noted that one charge lodged against the assailant was possession of a controlled substance. Although follow-up treatment was required, the officer’s injuries did not appear to be serious, but in other cases, such violence has resulted in injuries that forced officers into retirement.

Battling with police officers cannot be tolerated. These men and women deserve the community’s respect and support. Their assailants, if convicted, should get the strongest sentences that judicial guidelines allow.

And Lawrence needs to give more attention to dealing with the range of effects that increased drug use is having on the community. Ignoring it or looking the other way is not the answer. Law enforcement needs our backing. The newly elected Lawrence City Commission should make it a priority.