14 officer-involved shootings since October

Posted at 11:25 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 01:25:24-05

Colorado officers in the Front Range have been involved in 14 officer involved shootings since Halloween.

The most recent happened on Monday night at a 7-Eleven located off 11th and Yosemite. Aurora Police shot and killed a wanted theft suspect, who rammed a cop car.

"That is quite a bit," said Commerce City Police Commander Matt Rippy.

The officer involved shootings have happened across the Front Range from Aurora to Denver to Jefferson County.

"Assaults and attempted assaults on police officers have been elevated," said Commander Rippy, who's been a police officer for more than 35 years.

"How challenging is it to be in law enforcement right now," asked Denver7 Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.

"It's always challenging to be a police officer," said Rippy. "And it appears we're under additional scrutiny."

In his experience, he said officer involved shootings tend to happen in clusters.

"Reasons beyond our control, we'll have a flurry of them and that's what it kind of seems like has been happening since Halloween," said Rippy.

However, he said he has seen a change in the way some people treat police.

"The current atmosphere toward police as an excuse - maybe to be more aggressive toward police," further explained Rippy.

He also said being a cop is not a popular job right now, which has also impacted Commerce City's ability to recruit new hires.

"We hold a very high standard for a job that's very difficult and it's getting harder and more unpopular," said Commander Rippy.

The Commerce City Police Department is offering to pay for new recruits to go through the police academy as way of encouraging more people to apply.

He also said if things were the way they are now when he decided to be a cop, "I would have to do some soul searching and self-reflection to see if this would still be the career for me."