This week I’m joined by mental health advocate, author, veteran, and Retired Police Sergeant, Michael Sugrue. Michael medically retired from the police force due to post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) stemming from an incident described below in Michael’s own words.
“Several hours into the shift around 3 am I was dispatched to a report of a suspect armed with a knife and a couple barricaded inside their bedroom. I arrived first on scene in a matter of minutes and as I did so the police dispatcher screamed that there was a struggle and the phone line just went dead. As soon as I got out of my patrol car I could immediately in the distance hear blood curdling screams which sounded like a woman was being killed. Another officer arrived at the scene seconds later and we both ran together as fast as we could towards the screams. Upon arriving at the condominium, we could see a huge window the size of a door had been smashed in and it appeared as if someone had broken into the residence. The downstairs of the two story condominium was dark and no one was found. Upon getting to the bottom of the stairs my partner and I encountered a male subject armed with a large butcher sized knife at the top of the stairs. This male was sweating and had a crazed look in eyes (nothing like any of us had ever seen before). After ignoring repeated commands to drop the knife, the male raised the large knife and came at us at the bottom of the stairs. Fearing for my life, my partners lives and the two people upstairs I fired my duty weapon striking the suspect two times. Seconds later the male who was now at the bottom of the stairs again ignored repeated commands to drop the large knife and made a threatening movement towards my partners and I. Again fearing for my life, my partners lives and the two people upstairs I again fired my duty weapon striking the subject. Ultimately the subject was killed and the two people upstairs were saved. We were immediately sued by the family of the suspect and endured 4 years of horrible depositions, legal hearings and ultimately two weeks as a defendant in Federal Court. All the while constantly reliving that horrible night where we all almost died. Ultimately the jury ruled in our favor and Judge Charles Breyer said had it not been for our actions more lives would have been lost that night. I’m damn proud of my fellow Officers who acted with absolute bravery and courage that night. I wish that night never happened, but it did and it has forever changed me...............”
This, along with countless other traumatic events, triggered bouts of anxiety and depression that would eventually destroy Michael’s life both personally and professionally. Through a long journey of recovery, Michael has discovered the healing power of treatment and support from others who have experienced PTSI. Since then, he’s devoted his life to helping other first responders and veterans find help and develop tools to cope with their PTSI and live a healthier and happier life.
Below are some of the programs mentioned in this podcast.
For more on Michael Sugrue please see his links below.
LinkedIn: Michael Sugrue
Facebook: Michael Sugrue