Not in recent history – or maybe ever – has there been a Film created to depict the lives of our unsung Heroes in Blue, the American Law Enforcement Officer, whose fierce, warrior mentality is synonymous with Proverbs 28, 1-2:
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the bold are as righteous as a lion.”
The film is called The Wounded Blue. I needed to get the Title to you right out of the gate. I need you to remember the name of this film, because there are a million reasons why YOU should see it, not the least of which is that every American Law Enforcement Officer is that bold lion who exhibits courage and bravery to serve and protect.
But every day he wonders, will he return every night to his “den?”
In fact, I need to get this right out of the gate, too: this critically-acclaimed, five-star film is a must-see for every law enforcement official. Officers, their family members, along with members of our United States Congress, city, county, and state governmental elected leaders, human resources directors and Employee Assistance Program coordinators, community mental health professionals, law enforcement supporters, and everyone who has ever been in need of a police officer at least once in their lifetime.
In other words, that means YOU.
#TheWoundedBlue is Available Now for Rent & Digital Purchase on #iTunes, #Amazon, & #MicrosoftStore! Learn more at https://t.co/NWYdC0a6vY @JasonHarney72 @LtRandySutton @Ann_Carrizales @CrimeAuthor @damnyankee1977 @tiger7356 @CCSheepdog @WoundedBlue @GlobalGenesisGp pic.twitter.com/kyJK49mkUF
— “The Wounded Blue” Documentary (@WoundedBlueDoc) May 27, 2019
Remember the old song by the late Jim Croce called “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown?” According to Croce’s lyrics about this fictional character, he was “the baddest man in the whole damn town.” So what do you think happens when an officer catches up with the likes of such a guy? Awards? Medals? Labels of being the toughest officer around?
I will tell you what kinds of prizes come with those critical incidents: Financial ruin. A lifetime of pain. PTSD. Trauma. A broken family. And an aftermath of being the forgotten American Law Enforcement Officer, to name but a few.
Did I mention PTSD? I think I did, but my memory is a bit foggy. I’m sure many of you understand that particular symptom, which is associated with PTSD.
Do I have your attention yet?
The Wounded Blue is a documentary film like no other before it. Based on true stories and set in current time in six different geographical locations in the United States, it’s underlying premise is to debunk the myths about the lives of American Law Enforcement Officers returning to normal in a critical incident scenario.
Six law enforcement officers are profiled in this film. Six lives forever changed by one incident. By one blink of an eye. By one fleeting second.
After suffering injuries in the line of duty that left him disabled & forced to retire,@damnyankee1977 lost his health insurance because he wasn’t with the department for 10 years. See his story in #TheWoundedBlue. NOW PLAYING on Multiple Platforms. Visit: https://t.co/NWYdC0a6vY pic.twitter.com/M6ZYuCwapW
— “The Wounded Blue” Documentary (@WoundedBlueDoc) April 9, 2020
Yet the American people, and even other members of our law enforcement communities around our nation, believe these officers, when sustaining a line-of-duty injury and are “expected to survive,” as news accounts always report, will go on to get well, become whole, and go back to their jobs with their respective police departments.
Remember: they’re bold and righteous as a lion, and able to capture even “Leroy Brown.”
Think again. In many instances, nothing could be further from the truth.
There’s empathy as an initial reaction, to be sure. And later, as the days go on and the media coverage dissipates, it turns to a forgotten memory of a hero down. His suffering, a long and winding road to even the slightest possibility of any semblance of recovery, and that of his own family’s personal anguish but a mere, fleeting thought.
It’s all caught only in a moment in time which is now entirely gone. Officers all over the country feel a nudge, or maybe even a shrug, at the fellow officer in blue who made it through their life-altering experience, and it turns into a feeling of indifference, of sorts.
Perhaps, subconsciously, even a thankful feeling it hadn’t happened to him.
“Sometimes I felt sad, like being on a playground & nobody wants to play with you.” @Ann_Carrizales discussing the effects of #PTSD on #PoliceOfficers in #TheWoundedBlue. NOW PLAYING on #iTunes #Amazon #GooglePlay #Microsoft! @WoundedBlue
— “The Wounded Blue” Documentary (@WoundedBlueDoc) March 29, 2020
What has happened to our country when Americans turn their backs on our law enforcement officers, and our men and women in blue demonstrate there is no bond in the ‘brotherhood’ that the profession so vehemently uses as a lure of part of the appeal of being a cop? Another false narrative?
I wish it weren’t so, but I’m not feeling like we’re in Kansas anymore. What is happening in this country to the camaraderie and cohesiveness of our law enforcement officers?
The Wounded Blue is a film about the terrifying reality of the life of an officer who is severely wounded in a critical incident. It’s also about the reminder of a very broken system which discards that officer. A system that doesn’t give him a tool box to rebuild his life, yet expects him to thrive and survive without those necessary tools to recover physically, never mind psychologically and emotionally.
Those commonalities are characterized as seemingly unimportant and certainly secondary, if at all, to the physical limitations of that officer. I, personally, call that institutionalized discrimination.
Along came The Wounded Blue, born out of a need for an organization to give our wounded officers a voice again in a culture riddled with systemic problems. It was led by retired Las Vegas Metro Police Lieutenant Randy Sutton, who became that leading voice behind the nonprofit organization’s formation.
After a 34-year career in Law Enforcement, Randy will tell you about the heartbreak of all of the stories by police officers all over this nation who would reach-out and share their personal plight of devastation with him. So much so, that he recognized that there was, indeed, a pervasive problem of a ‘throwaway’ mentality among law enforcement administrations throughout this country.
During National Police Week of 2019, Randy officially launched his 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization The Wounded Blue.
The precedent-setting documentary by the same name was filmed from actual dashcam and bodycam footage and was written, directed, and produced by Retired Sergeant Jason Harney, also of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. Harney has turned retirement from a 25-year law enforcement career into nothing short of an award-winning filmmaking career.
Under his own film banner, Lightning Digital Entertainment, Harney has been able to work on other, similar projects, with an award-winning film documentary, Repeat Offender, which he also wrote, directed, and produced, and which was adapted from the book of the same title. He continues to work with Randy Sutton on projects to advance the cause of The Wounded Blue.
Debuting in March of 2019, just two months shy of the official launch of The Wounded Blue Organization, this project would bring together two law enforcement officers from the same department for a common and worthy cause, with Lieutenant Randy Sutton also serving as a director of the film.
Its message to all of the six officers featured in the film, and to every law enforcement officer who had then, or who has now, ever been discarded by his or her department: Never forgotten, never alone. That remains the mantra and mission statement of The Wounded Blue.
Each of the six officers profiled may have a different story in terms of his or her career-ending physical disabilities, but the theme is extremely powerful and always the same: Nobody exists to protect our protectors.
Though no two injuries are alike, all suffer in a cesspool of bureaucracy deeper than any blue ocean, fighting for the very things they’ve earned, in some cases, after decades of serving and protecting every member of their community:
-Their life-saving benefits, like health insurance, which now is no longer an option but a requirement to live;
-Disability compensation, which even at a substantial percentage less than their full salaries, suddenly doesn’t exist;
-A crippling system in the dire consequences of being forced into the dumping grounds of worker’s compensation, claims which are consistently riddled with an undercurrent of what seems to be predetermined rejection, opposition, refutation, and declination;
-Medical conditions deemed to be pre-existing;
-And the realization that the service and sacrifice these officers have made is now worth absolutely nothing.
How about the emotional trauma which is synonymous with a tragic, potentially life-ending event?
John Violanti, a University of Buffalo professor and police stress expert, said:
“Police believe they have to be strong all the time and they should not be affected by it and they’re quite surprised when they are. A lot of them don’t want to come forward because of the consequences, which they think could involve a lack of confidence.”
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is said by experts to have implications on the lives of anywhere from 30 to 35% of our entire population of law enforcement officers.
With approximately 900,000 police officers in this country, it’s easy to discern how large of a problem we have within our law enforcement communities in psychological and emotional trauma alone.
As a nation, we are experiencing suicides among our police officers at higher rates than line-of-duty-deaths, and we must, as this film so eloquently demonstrates, act swiftly and do something to help our officers NOW.
Not tomorrow. Now.
Can you “unsee” the most traumatic incident you’ve ever witnessed in your life? Imagine the horrors of those shocking and disturbing scenes replaying in your mind over and over every day.
The load is heavy, but as this film depicts, we will no longer stand by and allow any of you who serve and protect to suffer in silence.
Never forgotten. Never Alone.
#TheWoundedBlue film features members of our Peer Team, who gave support to over 2150 Police Officers in 2019, providing someone to talk to, as well as the resources to ensure our cops are on the path to recovery. Now Playing on Multiple Platforms.
Visit: https://t.co/NWYdC0a6vY pic.twitter.com/Ae3Q7e6boc
— “The Wounded Blue” Documentary (@WoundedBlueDoc) April 1, 2020
You can watch The Wounded Blue Documentary on these platforms: Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Store, iTunes, and Google Play.
Proceeds from rentals and purchases go back into The Wounded Blue Organization.
All services offered by The Wounded Blue are free. For more information, please go to www.thewoundedblue.org.
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