First UE Amputee Graduates Police Academy
(Cowamn, Tenn) A Franklin County police officer now holds the distinction of being the first upper-extremity amputee in the country to graduate from a police academy.
Jerod Bradford, 41, from Estill Springs, is now a full-time officer at the Cowan Police Department. He said becoming a police officer was always his goal, and now he hopes his success inspires others.
"You can succeed in anything, all you have to do is try," said Officer Bradford. "Don't let anybody tell you otherwise."
Officer Bradford lost his left arm and right index finger in a near death electrocution while working as a journey lineman for a utility company in 2004. After 15 surgeries, multiple painful skin graphs and years of therapy, he was still determined to achieve his dream of becoming a police officer.
"I had several phone calls from people saying, ‘Jerod, you can't do this,'" said Officer Bradford. "I said, sit back and watch me."
In order to join the department, Bradford had to complete a grueling 10-week police academy. He said the training was tough, but an amazing experience.
"The sit ups, the gut busters, planks, those were not on my favorite things list," said Officer Bradford. "I still did them right next to everyone else."
Bradford's performance and determination inspired others in his class, and the police department.
"They said, we can't quit as long as Bradford is still here," said Officer Bradford. "He's only got one arm and he's doing it."
Now a typical day for Officer Bradford is centered around patrolling the streets of Cowan and directing traffic outside of area schools. He said he loves each assignment, and hopes to have a long career with the Cowan police department.
"I want to do my job, I want to give back to the community, and I want to help others," said Officer Bradford. "No amount of money can match the feeling you have knowing you have saved someone's life."
Bradford hopes his story will encourage others to reach their own goals. "I hope people look at me and say, if he can do it, then I can do it."