WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — When former Wichita Falls police officer Tim Putney first entered law enforcement in 2007, he didn’t think an incident where he would be unable to walk without a cane would happen to him.
“Nobody knows how hard I’ve had to work to get where I’m at today. I still don’t have feeling in my right foot,” Putney said.
In 2017, Putney fell on a curb and injured his back while handcuffing a suspect. The injury caused nerve damage to where Putney lost feeling in his right foot and ultimately into his leg.
“My son, I could still play ball with him in the living room. I couldn’t go outside and run with him. He didn’t understand. To this day, I still don’t think he fully understands what was wrong,” Putney said.
After a year-long battle with the city for worker’s compensation, Putney took his case to an administrative judge in Fort Worth in 2018. He won the battle and now has all of his procedures paid for life.
The department also placed him in a modified position while he was on an extended leave of absence, but he would have to apply for a civilian position instead of transferring.
Because of that, Putney decided to go back to where he began his career with the sheriff’s office where he is now in an investigative role with the jail.
“Kind of brought back a pep in my step like, ok, I am worth something, I can still do this job, it may not be in the same capacity that I did it before. I was very appreciative,” Putney said.
“I told him when he left if he ever wanted to come back to this agency, I would hire him back in a heartbeat. When his situation started with the city, of course I was concerned about his health, is he gonna be able to come back to work. If there’s a goal that we had for him. He’s busted the tarp. He’s way past it,” Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said.
Putney is now able to walk, drive and exercise which exceeded doctors’ expectations for him when he was first operated on. As Putney continues his journey in life, he says he will cherish every moment.
“I will never take anything for granted. I will never complain about having a job anymore. When you’re sitting at home wondering whether you’re gonna have a job the next day or not, it’s exhausting both mentally and physically. So I’m very thankful for the sheriff and him giving me the opportunity to work for him,” Putney said.
“I thank god every day for my wife and for her fighting for me because I wasn’t able to speak out. I am very thankful for her.”
Putney says he has a spinal cord stimulator in his back that can help control the pain in his right leg since it can’t be controlled by medication.