CHICKASHA, Ok. – A police officer who was shot and gravely injured in the line of duty has been seemingly abandoned by his department almost two years after the incident, KFOR News reported.
“It kind of seemed like everybody was gonna take care of me and not to worry about things, and then a contract comes up,” Sgt. Matthew Schoolfield said after being removed from light duty.
Since a 2017 shooting, Schoolfield’s life hasn’t been the same. In September of that year, Schoolfield and a number of other Chickasha police officers were serving a search warrant when things took a nasty turn.
As the officers approached the residence, shots rang out from inside. The radio audio paints the terrifying picture of the dire situation the officers found themselves in.
“Subject’s moving through the building. Randomly firing through the walls. East side, west side, rounds coming out,” an officer can be heard saying. “Shots fired! Large amount. Subject barricaded. We have one of our officers shot.”
Schoolfield took heavy fire and was struck multiple times. Reports said that three bullets hit the 10-year-veteran of the force and at least two more rounds were stopped by his bulletproof vest.
“He was able to make his way on his own to a perimeter officer and collapsed. The perimeter officer went to drag him to cover where a tourniquet was applied to his upper right arm,” Chickasha Police Chief Goebel Music said after the incident occurred.
61-year-old Alex Warren Klingler was found guilty of the shooting in 2018.
The injuries Schoolfield sustained were traumatic… and they’ve stuck with him.
“One round went through my helmet down the right side of my face through my ear,” he said. “The one that went in my forearm that actually severed my arm other than a few tendons and some skin tissue.”
Two years later, he’s still undergoing operations to try and fix his arm.
“They had to reconstruct my arm, try to connect everything the best they could. I had nine procedures so far, possibly a tenth coming,” Schoolfield said.
But the worst news had yet to come. For approximately the last year, Sgt. Schoolfield had been working on light-duty. The word came down recently that Schoolfield was to be taken off of that assignment. Now he’s stuck at home wondering about his future.
“Very scary because my wife works too, but I was the main source of income, so a big part of my salary helped with bills and things like that,” he said.
The veteran officer said that he’s unsure about his future as a police officer – a career that he had dedicated his life to. He says he doesn’t want his injuries to put others in danger.
“Right now, it’s doubtful that I’ll be able to be a police officer again because of the loss of function in my hand. I’m not gonna be selfish enough to put myself above those that I would be working alongside of or even the citizens I’m supposed to protect,” he said.
The Chickasha Police Department has not commented on Schoolfield’s situation. Matthew Schoolfield recently appeared on an episode of the Law Enforcement Today Radio Show.
We’ve seen far too many officers that have been dropped by their departments after being injured while serving.
An officer who was shot in the head while responding to the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando is being told he’s facing termination, according to a report from ABC 9.
Mike Napolitano narrowly escaped the night with his life. He says he owes it all to his ballistic helmet, which stopped a bullet from killing him.
But since Napolitano hasn’t been back to duty since the attack, he’s being told that he’s going to be let go from the department. Orlando state policy gives officers a set amount of time to return to work following an event like this… and Napolitano’s time has run out.
Three years ago, Napolitano and fellow officers confronted Pulse mass shooter Omar Mateen as he appeared in a hole in the club made by the SWAT team in order to rescue hostages.
When Mateen appeared in that hole, he and officers exchanged heavy rounds of fire. Napolitano was hit, but the helmet saved his life.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
The officers were able to take down Mateen, but not before he had killed nearly 50 people in his vicious assault.
ABC 9 reported that it’s been three years, and still Napolitano has not been medically cleared or told he was permanently not fit to return. He took another position in alternative duty, where officers typically remain for a year.
Hanging in limbo, Napolitano got the news that his time might be up.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said that he made sure Napolitano got a heads-up call before it happened.
That call came in early August.
Rolon said he that while understands that the situation is difficult because of the fact that Napolitano was shot by a domestic terrorist, the city policy applies to every officer.
Napolitano is one of six officers facing termination over the statute. Napolitano now must figure out how to resolve the issue and either return to duty… or lose his job with the force.
The helmet that saved his life sits on display inside the Orlando Police Department.