Police officer reacts to recent violence against Cedar Rapids police - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police officer reacts to recent violence against Cedar Rapids police

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - In the past week, two Cedar Rapids police officers have been assaulted while on duty.

Monday night, officers were called to a home on 4th Avenue SE for reports of a group of women arguing. According to police, Officer Tracy Schmidt was trying to break up the fight when he was pushed down a small flight of stairs. He was treated for minor injuries to his face and leg.

Early Saturday morning Officer Lucas Liddle was dispatched to a house on K Avenue NE for a noise complaint. According to police, as he tried to detain 19-year-old Jacob Boots, Boots began punching the officer in the face. Liddle was treated for minor cuts and bruises and is expected to return to work soon.

Police officers take an oath to serve and protect, but many people don't realize what they go through each day to uphold that oath.

We took a ride with one officer on Tuesday, who has been assaulted while on duty. He calls the problems Cedar Rapids police have been dealing with, both alarming and frustrating.

"It hits close to home, of course, being a police officer and hearing of those individuals who will go to those lengths to assault a police officer," said Officer Jeff Hartwig, who's been on the Marion police force nearly 10 years, and K-9 unit for the last 4.

"He's kind of my backup," Hartwig said of his partner Rico, riding close behind him. But in that decade, he's not seen the level of violence against officers that's been taking place in Cedar Rapids.

"It's just astonishing what they're going through."

He's seen a growing lack of respect for law enforcement in general. "I see it from 13-year-olds on up to 50-year-olds." Hartwig found himself the target while responding to a domestic abuse complaint years ago.

"When we attempted to place him under arrest, the fight was on. He was a bigger guy, so we went around the kitchen from cupboard to cupboard, and I took a couple punches, unfortunately." He learned a valuable lesson from that experience: that anything can happen on any call.

"In training, they'll say there is no such thing as a routine situation, because everything's going to be different."

To this day, he wonders why anyone would try to fight or attack an officer, when the consequences are so severe.

"I've asked people after they've done it, or talked to people, and some of them actually open up and say that if they're in front of friends or in a group it's cool to not give up or give in."

But to Hartwig, that's reasoning that makes no sense.

Hartwig says Marion police deal with a handful of assaults against officers every year, but none as severe as those recently in Cedar Rapids.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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