Jessica and K-9 Charle
My name is Jessica and first and foremost I am a mom to 2 awesome boys-Braeden (18) and Chase (17). I grew up in Golden Valley where my dad and uncle were both police officers. In fact, my dad was my school liaison officer in junior high, isn’t that fun?! (Insert sarcasm) I never had any desire to be a cop, my dream was to be a flight medic. My focus changed and so the law enforcement journey began..
It started in 1997 when I was hired as a CSO at the airport. I then decided to switch departments and I was hired as a CSO for the city of Crystal in February of 1998. I officially thought I made it big when I was promoted to police officer on January 2nd of 2001! My dad was so proud of his girl. My career consisted of mainly working patrol and I also was a background investigator and field training officer.
In 2003 I got married and had my first son. I was approximately 5 months pregnant and my husband (at the time) was involved in his 2nd officer involved shooting. The first OIS was when we had first met and he was in his final phase of FTO. I am going to admit...I don’t think anyone knew what PTSD was back then, including me. At that time, I knew that I just needed to help my husband get through all the “stuff” he was experiencing.
My dad was my hero, role model and I was ‘daddy’s girl’. In 2011 my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. I WAS DEVASTATED. I used almost all of my sick and vacation time to be with my dad while he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. On September 22, 2011 my dad lost his courageous battle with brain cancer. I was at a loss. How could I go back to work and put on the uniform, the one that was a constant reminder of my dad. I did it because he was proud and I knew it was what he would want.
On July 16 of 2020 I was involved in a critical incident where I was run over by a suspect’s vehicle after a pursuit. I thought I was fine. I knew I had several physical injuries, including knee surgery, but I thought I would recover and be back to patrol in no time. I was okay, until I was not okay. The mental toll has been overwhelming with nightmares, sleepless nights, panic attacks and anger. I found that shutting people out became my forte. Alcohol was an easy way to numb the feelings and try and cope with the sleepless nights and the dark thoughts. I knew I needed help, but it was terrifying to admit that the job had broken me.
Through this process I learned that support comes from the most unexpected people. I was contacted by a girlfriend and she brought up Soldier’s 6 and the idea of a service dog. It couldn’t have happened at a better time..I was struggling with finding purpose, a reason to get out of bed. I am now the proud owner of Charlie (Teddy)! We are ready to start this journey together.