- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DALLAS (AP) - Dallas police Officer Joshua Burns continues to recover from injuries he received earlier this month when he was shot three times while responding to a domestic call. But some fellow officers say his mental wounds may take the longest to heal.

Frederick Frazier, first vice president of the Dallas Police Association, said he often sees reluctance in officers who have been shot. “They feel responsible. They also feel that at some point that this is going to happen again - like a victim,” Frazier said.

Burns is expected to come back from his physical injuries and return to duty. Meanwhile, four North Texas officers who also have been shot while on duty - including two last year - recently reflected on how the shootings affected their lives and gave a glimpse of what Burns might experience on his road to recovery.

Tony Crawford

Dallas police Lt. Tony Crawford felt his legs drop out from underneath him one night in November 1991. He likened the feeling to “getting hit by a pickup truck.” A bullet had broken his spine, and he knew it immediately. His attackers’ gun wouldn’t fire again for some reason, so they beat him with it. His skull was fractured.

After the two teenagers - one of whom is serving a life sentence - spared him and fled into the night, Crawford watched paramedics scramble to save him. His mind reeled.

“You think about your own mortality, your family,” said Crawford, who had a 15-month-old daughter.

Then-Police Chief Bill Rathburn visited his young sergeant in the hospital and knew just what to say.

“I assured him that as long as I had anything to say about it, he’d have a job with the Dallas Police Department,” Rathburn told The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/1ewk40M ).

Crawford, 53, said the chief’s guarantee meant a lot to him. He didn’t want to stay home all day. He wanted to be a cop.

“I didn’t want to allow the two guys that shot me to win by not being able to be a police officer anymore,” he said. “I wanted to provide for my family and go to work and feel that self-worth of still being able to contribute to the Police Department.”

At the time, the city didn’t have a formal plan to allow permanently injured officers to return to duty. In September 2000, city officials adopted such a plan, a police spokesman said.

Crawford is now in a wheelchair, and his colleagues sometimes call him “Ironsides.” He has been promoted to lieutenant and works in the department’s high-tech fusion center, which monitors police activity and provides intelligence to officers in the field.

While he loved patrol and envies those officers, he said he knows how lucky he is. Every time he says goodbye to his daughter - who has graduated from college - and his wife, he tells them that he loves them.

“I could be hit by a car, or hit by a bus, or whatever,” he said. “But if something like that happens, they know that’s the last words they heard from me.”

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