August 10, 2018 10:32 PM
With each shift and every call, police officers across Minnesota have no idea what they will face.
Just like their gun and badge, danger is part of the job.
In 2012, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension started keeping track of officers assaulted while on the job. Since then, 2,140 have been attacked. Five of them were fatal. That includes the death of a K-9.
Jim Crawford is retired after 26 years in law enforcement. He was a police chief in Golden Valley and North St. Paul and a patrolman in Edina. During his career, he faced what others feared in the streets.
"They're out there fending for themselves, they aren't walking around thinking I'm going to be injured tomorrow or in a month or a year," Crawford said.
Nine years ago, he decided to use his experience and bureaucratic know-how to create an organization where officers serve officers. The nonprofit is called Minnesota Association for Injured Peace Officers.
"We offer them resources, support, counselors, advice on workers compensation or disability pension, mentors, so they're not forgotten and they don't get lost in the shuffle," Crawford said.
Crawford said on any given day, the group helps 30 to 40 law enforcers all across the state.
"Their injuries are the result of being shot, squad crashes, wrestling with a suspect, making an arrest or an assault," he said.
The group, MAIPO, is all volunteer, made up of officers who had similar injuries or incidents. They understand that injured officers and the families can be easily overwhelmed with having to make important decisions which can be crucial to recovery.
Crawford said some officers eventually can return to duty, while others, like Corrections Officer Joseph Gomm, who was killed by an inmate last month, don't.
Crawford said for officers who suffered career-ending injuries and have to go on disability pensions, the group shares a list of occupations that other injured officers have segued into.
Updated: August 10, 2018 10:32 PM
Created: August 10, 2018 09:36 PM
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