”Together we can make a difference.” – Randy Sutton
It would be hard to believe that anyone reading this would not be familiar with Randy Sutton. Lt. Randy Sutton (ret.) was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. After graduating high school, he joined the Princeton Borough Police Department, becoming one of the youngest police officers in the state. He served the town for 10 years before joining the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where he served for almost 24 years, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. During his service, he distinguished himself as one of the highest decorated officers in department history having earned multiple Lifesaving awards, Exemplary Service awards, Community Service awards and a Medal for Valor. He was also awarded a Presidential Point of Light Award by President George Bush for his creation of a reading program for inner-city children.
Randy Sutton is the host on Blue Lives Radio, The Voice of American Law Enforcement on the America Outloud Network. As one of the most featured officers on the popular television series “COPS” he is well known with appearances leading to featured acting roles. A prolific writer and law enforcement advocate, he has authored four books. He has also been a contributor to numerous law enforcement publications including The Blue Magazine.
Recognizing that approximately 50,000 American law enforcement officers are assaulted every year in the United States with even more injured in traffic accidents, training accidents and other assorted misfortunes while on duty, it was clear that help was needed. Additionally, many more are affected by PTSI (Post Traumatic Stress Injury). The term PTSI as opposed to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is used because the condition is often treatable to the point of it NOT becoming a “disorder,” but in many cases it, too, becomes an incapacitating injury. Most Americans seem to assume that in the event of sustaining on-duty injuries, law enforcement agencies and the local, county and state governments which employ them would be responsible for taking care of them, financially, medically and psychologically, as these injuries are incurred while serving the people they swore to protect. Unfortunately the reality is often quite different. Officers who are hurt often lose a major portion of their salaries during their healing process (if the injuries are only temporarily disabling) and also often lose the ability to earn enough to feed their families.
All of this has led to Randy Sutton’s involvement in The Wounded Blue. The Wounded Blue Mission: To improve the lives of injured and disabled law enforcement officers through support, education, assistance and legislation. The Wounded Blue was founded to help injured law enforcement build and administer an Emergency Financial Aid Fund, create a system of effective and caring peer support, be a resource for competent and effective legal counsel and advocate for stronger laws and protection for the American law enforcement officer, all while remaining an advocate for the positive public perception of law enforcement.
The only thing worse than being traumatically injured in the line of duty is feeling alone and abandoned, helpless and forgotten. That is why The Wounded Blue was created: to stand with those who have sacrificed so much for the communities they serve and to do everything in their power to help negotiate the road ahead. The Wounded Blue believes that most Americans support their law enforcement and want to be a catalyst to channel that support into creating better lives for those who have been injured or disabled. Their motto sums it up best “Never forgotten – Never Alone.”
Getting injured in the line of duty is difficult enough just dealing with the pain of the injury. When you add financial stress, family issues, dealing with the unending bureaucracy of insurance and workers comp, it can be overwhelming. Having someone to talk to who’s “been there” is more than comforting, it’s essential to getting through the ordeal. That’s why The Wounded Blue has a group of professionally trained volunteers who have experienced similar traumas and can provide insight, encouragement and advice or sometimes just be a sounding board, not just for the officers who have been injured but also for their families. Every communication with The Wounded Blue is confidential, and if they can’t help, they will try to find someone who can. Everyone’s situation is unique, but Peer Support Officers have real world experience, resources and most importantly, the desire to help.
There are approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States employing around 900,000 federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement officers. Eighty percent of these agencies employ less than 20 officers. They have different pension systems, employment contracts, some have collective bargaining and unions and some do not. Some are protected by strong Workers Compensation laws and some are not. In short, a police officer who is shot or injured and disabled in New York City will be treated entirely differently than in Bismarck, North Dakota. The harsh reality is that doing the same dangerous job will not afford the same protections should an injury occur. This is what makes the work of The Wounded Blue of such critical importance.
The feature documentary “The Wounded Blue,” a film which tells the powerful stories of six police officers who inspired the creation of Lt. Randy Sutton’s The Wounded Blue Foundation is available for purchase or for rent on Amazon.com.