JAY – “Officer Down.” It’s the call every officer dreads and every family member and friend, of an officer fears.
That call went over the airwaves at 1:30 a.m. June 14 when Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Brownell was shot while on duty.
Highways throughout Delaware County came alive with flashing lights and screaming sirens as officers and medical response teams rushed to the scene.
Brownell, who was working for another officer who was on vacation, was investigating a trespassing complaint in the Grove area, when he was shot and wounded in his lower right arm.
He has since undergone several surgeries.
“So far, I’ve had three (surgeries), the major one was where they replaced some damaged nerves. The doctor said it would take about four to six months to know how much feeling I will have in my right hand,” said Brownell.
Brownell is currently undergoing physical therapy and has only recently been allowed by his doctor to drive.
“It’s been pretty depressing having to sit at home when I’m used to being busy all the time. I’ve had some good news though. My recovery is about six weeks ahead of schedule. It’s just by the grace of God that I’ve done so well,” Brownell said.
Brownell has been released for light duty and is going to be dispatching in the E-911 office in the evenings and nights part-time.
“Getting back to work will be great,” he said.
Deputy Brownell is also the handler for the K-9 Unit. He and canine officer Chico have been together for several years.
Chico was in Brownell’s cruiser the night of the shooting.
“That night, Chico went into handler protection mode and tried to get out of my vehicle, breaking a tooth. He knew something was wrong. The officers on the scene said he tried to tear the vehicle apart to get to me. There’s scratches on the seats to prove it,” Brownell said fondly of his four-footed partner.
“This has been hard on my family, Michelle, my wife and my four kids, but we’ve also learned just who your friends are when something like this happens,” Brownell said.
As always in situations like this, a financial strain has been put on the family of six. Michelle is a beautician by trade, but has been driving her husband to doctors’ appointments and caring for him and their four children.
“We’ve been doing okay financially, but every parent knows what school supplies cost. It will take a toll on our finances,” he commented.
Steve and Michelle’s children are in the 2nd, 6th, 8th grades and have a Junior in high school this year.
“What I would like most for everyone to know, from my family, is that we appreciate everyone in this entire county who have called and offered prayers for us. I want to especially thank the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department. I want everyone out there to know that it’s not just a department, it’s a family. Those officers, along with Grove Police Department officers, jumped in and started helping on the scene and have remained in touch with me through telephone calls and visits. I just want everyone out there to know that,” he concluded.
An account has been set up at the Bank of Grove in his name and an account will be set up at Arvest Bank as soon as possible.
A fundraiser is being scheduled for the family on September 12th at the Jay Community Center starting at 11:30, serving both lunch and dinner. Added events will include the raffling of a quilt, a silent auction, and music throughout the evening.
Also going around the town of Jay is a flower arrangement that will be on view in several businesses. The flower arrangement will be given to the lucky winner of a raffle ticket that night.
Another part of the fundraiser is a Beautiful Baby Contest taking place at Pricilla’s. Two trophies will be given to the prettiest baby in the area. To enter, bring a picture of your cutie by the shop and lay down a $5 entry fee. For more information about the contest, give Renee a call at 918-253-4062 or come by the shop located next to Mom’s Kountry Kitchen.