KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Every day law enforcement officers are asked to put their lives on the line for their community, but what happens when they are not able to do that?
For Knox County Sheriff’s Deputies, that’s when the Officer Down Fund becomes a lifeline of sorts during what can be a stressful and trying time.
“We tell people, look, those officers come across things that the average person will never ever come across in their lifetime,” Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said. “And, we do that on a daily basis.”
It’s that daily scenario that is one of the reasons Sheriff Spangler resurrected the Officer Down Fund in 2010.
“I think it was just sitting there,” he said, “and we wanted to make sure we started moving it more and making that opportunity available to the officers.”
The fund is designed to provide assistance to deputies and their families when the unexpected happens.
“It helps those officers that are in need,” Spangler said. “Whether they have had an injury … their family has got an illness or something. They’re not able to work so we are able to give them a little bit of support if you will, and help them get through the times that they are going through at that time.”
Two deputies have benefitted from the fund this year, one of which was injured during a pursuit that resulted in numerous surgeries.
“It may be something to just get them through a few days or something,” Spangler said. “(It) just depends on how serious an illness or whatever it may be. … We’ll step up a little bit more.
“To see the men that have received it … to see the tears that come out of their eyes. … You know it means something to them.”
If you would like to make a donation to the fund, you can send an email to Communications Director Kimberly Glenn to learn more at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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