(AP) – A rash of attacks on paramedics in Oregon’s largest city in recent months has led the city’s ambulance provider to begin mandatory training in defense tactics for all its employees.
The training by American Medical Response for more than 500 paramedics in greater Portland, Oregon, began over the summer and will continue through December.
The private 911 contractor says it has seen a 3% to 5% increase in calls for mental health and drug-related crises each year since 2016.
That’s the same year the ambulance company, instead of police, began transporting patients on a mental health hold to the hospital.
The change in transport policy came about because of a federal investigation that found Portland police used excessive violence against the mentally ill.