“I can remember when he said, ‘Turn the machine off,’ things got really bad for me about that time, because I’ve always had a fantastic relationship with our fire department. In fact, I would say they’re the best in the nation. I wouldn’t want anybody else touching me except for them. But when that decision was made, I was not good with that decision. I said, ‘You’re not turning it off, you’re gonna leave it on until we can get her, you know, until we can get her back. I’m not leaving her.’” – Officer Ernie
It looked like a yard sale of car parts when Officer Ernie arrived, as mangled pieces of metal and plastic lay strewn about the Texas highway. The smells of radiator fluid and hot engine steam hung in the air, and Ernie’s attention went from the dazed young man pacing the scene to the young woman lying motionless on the ground and gasping for air. It was Father’s Day and, despite first responders’ best efforts, Ernie knew the woman’s father would be receiving a knock on his door that would mar the holiday forever.
In the final episode of season three, join former firefighter/paramedic and host Phil Klein as he sits down with author and mental health advocate Officer Ernie. In this seldom-shared story, Ernie reveals the call that impacted him unlike any other during his 28-year career and, although it's been more than six years since he was the first to reach the scene of that devastating rollover accident, he remembers every detail as if it were yesterday. He discusses how retirement allowed him to process thoughts and feelings he had carried on the job and realize just how heavy the weight of that emotional burden was.
To learn more about Ernie’s work and his best-selling book, Mental Health & De-escalation: A Guide for Law Enforcement Professionals, visit his website, erneststevens.com or buy now: Mental health & De-escalation: A guide for law enforcement professionals.
Thank you for listening to season three! Please take a moment to give us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts or whichever platform you use to listen. We look forward to sharing more of your Stories From the Road in season four. Check out all available episodes on www.storiesfromtheroadpodcast.com.
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