It’s been three years since Deputy Adam Pennell was severely injured in the line of duty. And his wife says that even though their department talks about the importance of family and being there for each other, they turned their back on him when he needed them most.
She says the department broke the law. And now she’s suing them.
Pennell had to learn how to walk again after a 2016 on-duty hit and run crash left him in need of multiple surgeries.
Christin Pennell, who is also a deputy at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, noted that while they said they would always be there to support the injured deputy, their actions say otherwise.
“Betrayal,” Christin Pennell said. “Our agency, they preach that they’re proud of family and that their deputies are family and they’re family oriented. But when the going got tough, we looked around and nobody was there.”
“When we hired him [Pennell], he was healthy,” Judd said. “We have a moral obligation to provide all the health care he needs to get healthy again.”
She said that while in front of the cameras it seemed as though the wounded deputy would never be abandoned…. years later, they’ve found themselves fighting alone.
EXCLUSIVE | This month marks three years since a @PolkCoSheriff Deputy nearly died on the job. Deputy Adam Pennell had to learn to walk again following major surgery. Now ABC Action News is uncovering his wife, also a deputy, is suing PCSO.
— Isabel Rosales (@WFTSisabel) October 23, 2019
ABC News reported that Christin just filed a lawsuit against the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, saying that their neglect wasn’t just cruel, but actually broke the law.
The lawsuit alleges that the sheriff’s office violated the Family and Medical Leave Act and Florida Worker’s Compensation statute when they refused to grant her time off to provide care for her wounded husband. She also said that she was denied time off to attend a survivor’s conference and had been repeatedly denied promotions that she was working toward. Additionally, Christin alleges that the department suspended her husband’s workers’ compensation benefits while he was recovering.
“I felt like we didn’t matter what my husband had just gone through didn’t matter, and they didn’t care what the law said, how we felt, what was right. We need a body back so come back,” Christin said.
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She said it’s been a difficult road and she knows it’s not over yet.
“There’s a lot of heartache. There’s lot of hurt. He’s [Grady Judd] a man of preaching morals and preaching values, preaching family and he didn’t support his own word,” she said.
Deputy Pennell and an elderly woman that he was assisting were struck by a hit and run driver in 2016. The woman was killed and Pennell was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, suffering broken arms, broken ribs and a crushed pelvis, among other injuries.
— The Ledger (@theledger) December 12, 2016
The road to recovery has been slow and arduous, according to Christin, noting that the department has only made it more difficult.
“He was unable to get in and out of the shower by himself to be able to put a shoes on by himself to get dressed by himself I was still helping him with all those needs,” she said.
— PaulWBNG (@PaulWBNG) December 19, 2016
She has one message for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“Abide by the law that we swore we’d uphold.”