EUGENE, Ore. -- Chief Chris Skinner said he is commending the five Eugene police officers who have been injured in recent days for following their training and not using excessive force.
Skinner said two officers were taken to the hospital on Thursday morning after attempting to arrest a man on a warrant after responding to a report of a man breaking into cars. The suspect resisted arrest, and one of the officers injured his leg. He could be out for months, Skinner said.
"I think the officers should be commended for being creative and actually being really, really good about letting their training guide them and using the least amount of force necessary to end the conflict," Skinner said.
On Sunday three other officers were injured after police said they responded to a drunk fight on Avalon Street. One of those officers was punched in the face, police said.
"All the men and women in this organization know what they are getting themselves into," Skinner said. "But when you think about the incidents that they are responding to on behalf of this community, you wouldn't expect this to happen in close proximity to each other," Skinner said.
Skinner said, in addition to the one officer who could be off for months, some of the other officers are on light duty, putting a strain on the department that Skinner said is already understaffed.
"We have to fill it with overtime, backfill it with overtime, and so it just puts a strain on the entire system," Skinner said.
Skinner said the suspect in Thursday's incident was under the influence of narcotics and the case punctuates the need for greater attention on the opioid crisis and distribution of narcotics in our community.
"Drug use and drug possession are tied to a lot of our larceny crimes and a lot of our theft crimes," Skinner said. "We need to pay attention to that, and the fact that we are not paying attention to that now is a growing concern for me."