- Associated Press - Saturday, April 29, 2017

FRANKLIN, Ky. (AP) - Nearly 14 months after being shot three times while trying to serve a warrant, Simpson County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Eddie Lawson returned to work Monday.

Lawson, a 25-year law enforcement veteran who has worked long enough to retire, said he isn’t ready to turn in his badge.

“I’m just really not ready to retire,” Lawson said. “I’ve still got a few cases making their way through the court system that started before I got shot. They are pretty important cases. I want to see those through. … I’ve had a lot of community support about wanting me to come back.”

Lawson has been on medical leave since being shot March 10, 2016.

At just after 3 p.m. that day, as Lawson was attempting to serve a warrant on a Franklin man, he was shot three times with a .45-caliber handgun. One bullet ripped through his right femur, another through his right hip and a third grazed his left foot. After two surgeries including a bone graft and almost 14 months of recovery, Lawson’s physician cleared him to return to duty.

“With the help of my physical therapy … the progress I made was really extraordinary,” he said. “I’ve been without any walking assistance since the end of January. For a long time I sat at the house and recuperated.

“The whole time when I was recuperating I was hoping and praying every day that I would have that opportunity. It’s different if you have a choice to go to work or if life circumstances dictate that you can’t go back to work. I’m very blessed that I had a choice and I’m choosing to go back.”

His return is welcomed by his boss, Simpson County Sheriff Jere Hopson.

“We’re excited to have Eddie come back to work,” Hopson said. “We’ve missed his expertise and experience and will be glad to have him back. I was always confident that Eddie would be back to work. The length of time was all that was in question.”

Franklin Police Department Chief Roger Solomon said Lawson is an “inspiration.”

Eddie was one of the first officers I met when I moved here,” Solomon said. “He’s been a great mentor of mine and several other officers both past and present.

“I think the world of him both personally and professionally. I see him as a true inspiration to come back from something as horrific as what he went through in the amount of time that he did. The easy way out would be to take medical retirement, but he actually fought his way back. Eddie’s got a true passion for the profession.”

While Lawson said he’s not quite the same physically as he was before the shooting, he knows he can handle the demands of law enforcement.

“If I thought I couldn’t do the job, I definitely wouldn’t go back and put myself and fellow co-workers in danger,” Lawson said. “Even though this job is dangerous enough in today’s society, I’m very confident that I will definitely be able to perform my duties.”

His physical therapists put him through several exercises to prepare him for life back at work.

“I may not be as fast as I used to be, but I can still get up and go,” he said of his ability to run.

“I’m very, very, very blessed just to be able to be in a position to actually be able to go back to work,” he said.

“What I really didn’t realize until after I got shot was how many lives you have affected in your community just by doing police work,” Lawson said. “The amount of people that have come up and said, ‘Hurry up and come back to work,’ it’s been very heartwarming to me. Even the simple fact - say you unlock somebody’s car for them, they appreciate that so much. For us it’s definitely not a problem. For that person who really needs to get in the car, it means the world for them.

“It’s the small stuff I’m able to do for people, I still want to go out and do that.”

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Information from: Daily News, https://www.bgdailynews.com


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