WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita Falls police officer Tim Putney and his wife Chelsea are now questioning the support of the police department after receiving news that he would be forced out in a few months by the city.
Putney was injured while trying to arrest a suspect in 2017, leaving him with severe nerve damage, and he’s been on modified duty ever since.
City policy allows officers injured in the line of duty one year before they have to return to full patrol, which is a policy the Putneys are trying to change.
“By the time his extension is up if he has not been given an all-clear by the doctor to where he can go start working patrols, then yes, he would be basically let go,” Putney’s wife, Chelsea, said.
Wichita Falls City Council members extended leave of absence for Putney in May 2019 and that extension is ending soon, but the Putneys don’t know how soon.
“We were given May 11 being the earliest, then we were given a date in July,” Chelsea said. “And then yesterday, I believe it was, we were given a date in October. It is a very wide range of dates.”
That is the more frustrating part of a long process that the Putneys endured to get where Putney is now.
“It’s just that there have been exceptions made, but I feel like it’s personal with us because we have spoken out and been pretty verbal about what has happened,” Chelsea said.
According to Chelsea, Putney has been successful in a modified position since 2017 and is unsure why he can’t keep that particular role.
“He’s been to work every single day minus a few other surgeries and procedures he’s had done and leaving for physical therapy,” Chelsea said. “Just minus those things he has been there every single day, and he’s been doing his job, and he’s been doing good at his job.”
In an official statement from the city, one year leave is the maximum that the council can grant. City officials have also informed Putney that he can apply for other jobs within the city and may do so at any time.
Even though Putney may need to find another job soon, the Putneys want changes to be made so this situation doesn’t happen to another injured officer.
“I don’t like being in the spotlight with all this but I feel like it’s the right thing,” Chelsea said. “If you don’t speak out nothing’s gonna ever get changed.”
Putney’s received a lot of support from the Peace Officers’ Angel Foundation and is planning a retreat for himself and other injured officers.