Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: It's a Long, Difficult Recovery for Local Cops Injured in the Line of Duty

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: It's a Long, Difficult Recovery for Local Cops Injured in the Line of Duty

Article excerpt

Sheena Smith still sees the accident like it was yesterday.

It was March 17, and she and a fellow St. Louis police officer, Gary Glasby, were on patrol in north St. Louis. The officers, who patrol public housing areas, were turning south on Broadway from Chambers Road, north of downtown.

It was about 11 p.m.

"I saw the whole thing," says Smith, who is 32. A black pickup broadsided the police cruiser carrying the two officers. "It was like slow motion. It was traumatizing."

On Thursday, Smith returned to work for the first time since the accident. She can only work a couple of hours at a time.

"I can't sit or stand for a long period of time," she says.

Her partner, who was driving, might not make it back to work at all.

Glasby is in Colorado at a rehabilitation center, the same one where officers who have been shot in the line of duty often end up to recover from their injuries. He's in a wheelchair but is alert. He's beginning to speak, but not long sentences.

"He's improving," says Evelyn Hillman, Glasby's aunt. "He sure is."

The two officers are lucky they weren't part of a dreary statistic.

Dying in an automobile crash is the second-highest cause of death for police officers.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 393 police officers died in car crashes between 2007 and 2016. Last year, 29 law enforcement officers died in automobile accidents. Sixty-six died from being shot.

More often than not, we hear about the brave recoveries of officers after a shooting, the Michael Flamions, the Tom Lakes. But danger lurks for police officers in a variety of ways. And the effects on those who survive can be life-changing.

Before the crash, Smith and Glasby, 33, both worked a lot of overtime and secondary jobs to make ends meet. For Smith, who is back at work, that's no longer an option. Glasby might never work again.

So their fellow officers, many of them members of the Ethical Society of Police, are planning a couple of fundraisers to help their families. On Sunday at 2 p.m., the first such fundraiser will be held at Gran Cru Cigars. There will be a poker tournament, door prizes, food and a raffle. The money will go to the Smith and Glasby families. …

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