Appalled by an increase in assaults against the 550 civilian employees who write parking tickets and direct traffic in Los Angeles, officials yesterday endorsed state legislation to increase penalties for attackers, reports the Los Angeles Times. Last week in Hollywood, someone took a baseball bat to the windshield of a traffic enforcement officer’s vehicle. Three other cars had their tires slashed. One officer was pulled from his car and beaten after an alleged assailant did not like the answer to a question he asked.
The number of assaults on traffic officers has increased steadily over the last five years, Assaults rose from 23 two years ago to 35 last year, while assault and battery cases went from nine to 18, including one in which an attacker fired five rounds from a gun into a traffic officer’s vehicle. “Traffic officers are a vital part of our ability to keep traffic moving,” said Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. “But, unfortunately, some of their duties are not warmly received by recipients of parking violations and result in assault and harassment.”