Lifestyle

Wounded Blue volunteers want others to know there are others who care

A group of police officers who were injured or disabled in the line of duty during their careers and who are now in a position to help others are doing so without hesitation — out of a sense of service, duty and loyalty to others like themselves.

The Wounded Blue, a 501c3 group founded five years ago, “offers peer support for injured and disabled officers,” said Randy Sutton in a recent interview with Fox News Digital, speaking by phone from Las Vegas, where the nonprofit group he founded (thewoundedblue.org) is headquartered. 

“My entire team is made up of cops who have been beaten, run over, screwed up and screwed over,” said Sutton, a 34-year law enforcement veteran. “They’ve come out on the other side and still continue to serve — some of them from wheelchairs, some who have been blinded, some who have been severely injured or disabled in other ways.”

The reason they stay involved, he said, is “service to others.”

NYPD OFFICER MEETS RETIRED DETECTIVES WHO SAVED HER FROM A BURNING CAR NEARLY 30 YEARS AGO

“Once they’ve experienced being injured in the line of duty, it’s a very, very lonely road — and that lonely road can lead to suicide. They know how important it is to reach out to others who have been in similar circumstances,” said Sutton.

The Wounded Blue aims to improve the lives of injured police officers through education efforts and legislation on their behalf.

The difficulties involved in today’s law enforcement work are not deterring the volunteers of the Wounded Blue, an all-volunteer group of former police officers and law enforcement officials. They remain committed to helping others who need them and who can benefit from outreach and education, the group’s founder told Fox News Digital. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

It is an extremely difficult time to be a police officer in America, Sutton told Fox News Digital.

For example, the recent “brazen attack on NYPD officers by illegal immigrant gang members is a symptom of a broken criminal justice system in the city of New York,” he said.

“Not only was this a mob empowered enough by the knowledge that there would be little or no consequences for their actions,” he told Fox News Digital, “but that was actually proven when all except for one were released with no bail,” he added.

NYPD OFFICER INJURIES ARE HAPPENING AT A RECORD-BREAKING PACE: REPORT

“Because this attack was captured on video and the video went viral, huge attention now has been placed on the failures of the leadership of the DA’s office and [the] city and state [leaders] who enacted these policies,” Sutton said. 

The Wounded Blue recently received a strong jolt of charitable support from an array of country music stars. 

He added, “Unfortunately, the reality is that unless voters change their elected leadership, these policies and laws will continue to embolden criminals and continue the crisis of public safety in New York City.”

He also said, “Last year more than 60,000 American law-enforcement officers were physically assaulted in the line of duty.” Nearly 400, he also said, “were shot last year and many of them have sustained life-changing injuries.” 

Wounded Blue speaker

The Wounded Blue “works to provide personal support to those men and women who are serving or have proudly served behind the badge.” Shown here, one of the conference sessions in progress as offered by the group for those who served others in law enforcement.  (The Wounded Blue)

He said assaults “continue to rise as consequences for these attacks diminish.”

The difficulties and challenges involved in law enforcement work, however, are not deterring the volunteers of the Wounded Blue, he said. 

Volunteers are committed to helping others who need them and who can benefit from outreach and education.

WISCONSIN POLICE OFFICERS RESCUE YOUNG WOMAN WHO SCREAMED ‘I WANNA DIE!’ IN LAKE MICHIGAN 

Recently, the organization received a strong jolt of charitable support from an array of country music stars to help America’s wounded police officers.

“People tell us afterward that because of this conference, they realized they had choices other than suicide.”

Those who stepped up to help the organization and those it serves include The Oak Ridge Boys, Reba McIntire, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Kid Rock, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Jamey Johnson, Aaron Lewis, Gabby Barrett and others. Toby Keith, who passed away just recently, also took part. 

The stars recently autographed an array of Epiphone acoustic guitars for a fundraising effort as the year of 2024 kicked off.

The Wounded Blue’s Peer Advocate Support Team is made up of volunteer current and former law enforcement officers. To date, said Sutton, the group has touched the lives of more than 14,000 law enforcement personnel in this country.

Officer Randy Sutton

Law enforcement veteran Randy Sutton founded The Wounded Blue, which helps injured and disabled police officers. The group’s annual National Law Enforcement Survival Summit, held each fall, addresses a wide range of police wellness issues. (Fox News)

“Through programs such as interactive peer support and outreach or our Code 4 Total Wellness system, our organization works to provide personal support to those men and women who are serving or have proudly served behind the badge,” the group says on its website. 

The all-volunteer group, said Sutton, “are doing it for their appreciation of others … They know how important it is to let others know who have been in similar circumstances that there are avenues of help for them. There are people who care. We are truly all in the same blue line of family.

“We help in a lot of different ways, not just peer support. We’ve helped people get into treatment.”

Said Sutton, “We help in a lot of different ways, not just peer support. We’ve helped people get into treatment.”

The group offers an annual training conference called the Annual Survival Summit each fall in Las Vegas.  

“It gets into every aspect of surviving a law enforcement career,” said Sutton, “including physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and financially.”

A photo of a thin blue line flag

A thin blue line flag, signaling support for law enforcement, is displayed. “There are people who care. We are truly all in the same blue line of family,” said Sutton of The Wounded Blue.  (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

He noted that it’s “intense and lasting — people tell us afterward that because of this conference, they realized they had choices other than suicide.”

Added Sutton, “At this time of cancel culture in America, where law enforcement has been so disrespected, the recent huge group of country music stars who said, ‘Enough is enough, we’re going to show our respect and our support,’ has been such a morale booster for us and for all police officers.”

Sutton is releasing a book shortly on the topic called “Rescuing 911: A Fight for America’s Safety.”

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

“I feel so passionately about this,” he said. “I have watched the degradation of our law enforcement community for years now, and it’s heartbreaking to see.”

Sutton was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. After high school graduation, he joined the Princeton Borough Police Department at age 19, becoming one of the youngest police officers in the state, according to his website. 

Wounded Blue

A group of Wounded Blue volunteers, supporters and others are shown during one of the group’s peer programs; Randy Sutton, founder of Wounded Blue, is at far right.  (The Wounded Blue)

He served the town for 10 years, then joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department — serving for nearly 24 years there and retiring as a lieutenant. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Sutton earned multiple life-saving awards during his service, plus exemplary service awards, community service awards and a medal for valor.

Anyone can learn more about Wounded Blue and the organization’s work at its website, TheWoundedBlue.org.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.


Source link