Code enforcers like slain West Valley officer frequently face danger, group says


SALT LAKE CITY — A West Valley City code enforcement officer who was shot to death Thursday is one of several across the country who have been killed on the job, according to an industry group.

In the last 20 years, at least 10 of Jill Robinson’s counterparts also lost their lives when they sought to issue warnings or citations, estimates the American Association of Code Enforcement.

Still more have survived assaults and received routine threats, said Kelvin Beene, president of the organization. He said homeowners’ mental health issues often play a significant role in confrontations with the officers who address unkempt properties and abandoned cars.

“We’re threatened on a regular basis, some of which you take with a grain of salt, others you have a concern with.”

Kelvin Beene, president of the American Association of Code Enforcement

West Valley City Police Department

Police say West Valley code enforcement officer Jill Robinson, 52, was shot and killed while on duty on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018.

“We’re threatened on a regular basis, some of which you take with a grain of salt, others you have a concern with,” Beene said.

The unarmed officers that have been fatally attacked in recent memory include Rodney Morales, of Aurora, Colorado, who was shot and killed in 2008, and Tennesee’s Mickey Write, whose 2001 shooting death was racially motivated, according to federal prosecutors.

With real or threatened violence against their code inspectors in mind, some U.S. cities — including Austin, Texas, where Beene once worked — have begun supplying bulletproof vests to the civilian workers.

“It’s a pretty low percentage that have them,” said Beene, who conducts trainings for code officers around the country. The departments that cover code officers in Kevlar usually have higher budgets or tend to be housed in police departments, which often are better funded than …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Top stories

      

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