PITTSBURGH – “It was just a night that completely and utterly changed my life.”
At 4 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2015, Harmony Township Officer Alan Loskoch spotted a man breaking into a car. Yet when he pulled up alongside, shots fly, reported CBS Pittsburgh.
“It was fast. I was fighting for my life. It was raining. Bullets flying past my head. My drink was exploding in my eyes, I could smell gunfire. I could smell it,” Loskoch said.
Life Changed Overnight
During the gunfight, Loskoch took a bullet to the chest. But fortunately he was saved by his body armor. However, his trauma doesn’t end there. Despite being shot in the line of duty and hailed for his heroism, two years later, Loskoch has been forced into medical disability.
Suffering PTSD and Tinnitus
As a result of his circumstances he finds himself nearly broke, without medical care and suffering from PTSD.
“I was a police officer. Did my job every day, was highly decorated, treated people right. I just feel I was given the short end of the stick,” he said.
After the shooting, Loskoch quickly returned to the work he loved. He sought to project an image of strength. But, all the while, he lived in his head replaying the gunfight over and over.
“I revisit it. What could I have done differently? What could I have done differently?” he said.
Beyond the stress that went untreated, there came another ongoing reminder — the shots that rang out that night continued to ring in his ears. It is a condition called tinnitus. A doctor recommended he take a few months off for the noise to clear, but after fitting him with state of the art hearing aids the same doctor ruled that he be retired.
Just just like that, despite his objections, Loskoch’s career was over.
In March, he reluctantly signed an agreement for a disability pension and 10 years of medical coverage.
But, he’s now living on half of his former pay and due to a continuing wrangle with the township, he and his kids still don’t have health insurance. As a result, he cannot keep up with his bills.
“My life’s crumbling a little bit. Every day’s a battle,” he said.
Moreover, he will be required to re-experience the traumatic event next month. The man accused of shooting him, Earl Hollins, goes to trial. His projected testimony heightens his anxiety. Still, he feels that if he can get the proper treatment for his PTSD and have his hearing cleared, he could someday return to being a police officer.
“I wish I was back with my buddies working beats and doing the job I love serving the community,” he said.
But, all of that seems unlikely – at least in Harmony. KDKA-TV’s Andy Sheehan tried contacting both the chief of police and the council president and both declined comment. Solicitor Richard Start did the same – except to say this: “We did everything within our power to assist him and attempted to serve any need he made us aware of. Everyone feels a great deal of compassion for former Officer Loskoch and that compassion is expressed in our efforts to help him.”
But, it’s clear that those efforts have fallen short. Case after case, wounded cops discover the system falls woefully short of meeting their physical and psychological needs. And now, two years after taking a bullet for the township, former Officer Loskoch finds his life unraveled.
As his story gets publicized, perhaps he’ll get the help that he needs.
(Photo: Screenshot CBS News broadcast)