Paramedics in Portland Train in Defense After Series of Attacks

Paramedics in Portland, Oregon are receiving training in self-defense after a series of high-profile attacks.

The city’s ambulance provider, American Medical Response, says the training is mandatory because of attacks that happened while paramedics were responding to 911 calls for people in a mental health or drug-induced crisis

The company began transporting patients on a mental health hold in 2016.

Police originally handled the transports, but that policy changed when a federal investigation determined Portland police used excessive violence against the mentally ill.

Since the ambulance provider took over, the private contractor says it has seen an increase in calls for mental health and drug-related crises by 3% to 5% each year.

Defense training started in the summer and will continue into December.