SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- The top cop in San Bernardino County is sounding the alarm on the dramatic rise in the number of attacks on his deputies.
"There's certainly an increase of violence out there in the public," said San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus. "This keeps me awake every night."
A press release issued by the department indicated that between the years of 2021 and 2022 there was a 55% increase in assault with a deadly weapon on deputies, and a 44% increase in attempted murder on deputies.
Dicus said the number of officer-involved shootings is on the rise, too.
"In my 31 years of law enforcement, usually an officer-involved shooting in San Bernardino County was something that happened once a year," the sheriff said. "It was a rarity. But since November of last year, we're averaging two officer-involved shootings a month. And going back to February, we have four (officer-involved shootings)."
Dicus said in his opinion there are several factors at play.
"There are a lot of bad actors out in the community. It doesn't seem like they're being held accountable," Dicus said. "Substance abuse, mental health is probably one of the biggest issues out there."
He said prison realignment is also increasing the number of criminals in the community, using a case in Rancho Cucamonga from last summer as an example.
"That was a parolee from Northern California that somehow wasn't being supervised, and our deputy gets a 911 call. He responds to the call, and that suspect uses a firearm and shoots our deputy," Dicus said.
Dicus said legislation is also taking away vital tools used by law enforcement. He uses Assembly Bill 742 as an example, which would prohibit the use of police dogs for arrest, apprehension or crowd control.
"There's no human being in their right mind that wants to tango with those dogs, so the de-escalation of just having the dog on scene is a huge tool for law enforcement across the board to prevent violence," the sheriff said. "But yet, now we're saying we can't have those dogs."
However, the author of that legislation said it doesn't ban the use of police dogs, but merely regulates it.
"Too many innocent people were being mauled by police canines," said Corey Jackson, a state assemblyman from Moreno Valley. "Our bill says if police officers or the public is not in immediate danger or threat, then they cannot use police canines to be able to apprehend that suspect."
Eyewitness News obtained data from the Department of Justice that showed between the years of 2016 and 2021, the number of assaults made on San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies has quadrupled, although statewide the number of assaults on peace officers has remained fairly flat.
But Dicus said for the safety of the community, law enforcement cannot continue to be handcuffed by the state legislature.
"We need not to make emotional and impassioned decisions, but logical and factual decisions that are the benefit of all the folks we serve," he said.