Twice-wounded Md. trooper returns to work: "This is what I want to do."

Editor's Note — PoliceOne talked to Officer Eric Workman, a remarkable Md. trooper who returned to work after two near-fatal injuries in 8 years:

"When I first started out, an older trooper told me, 'This job isn’t for everyone. There may come a time and a place when you don't like doing this anymore, and if so, you ought to consider leaving so you don't get yourself hurt, or anyone else.'"

Even after two critical wounds, that time hasn't come for Officer Workman.

"I do it because I enjoy it. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a hard worker and I have a drive to do police work. Now I work the warrant unit. I enjoy tracking people down. I’ve gotten really good at it. We need people on the job that really enjoy doing it, that aren’t just there to collect a paycheck."

By Laura McCandlish
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE, Md. —Trooper 1st Class Eric D. Workman sensed something suspicious as he readied for work yesterday.

Dr. Thomas Scalea, center, is joined by Maryland State Troopers as he speaks during a news conference at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Emergency Center Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006 in Baltimore. Trooper First Class Eric D. Workman, 36, was hit in the left shoulder and was "critically ill and on full life support."
(AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
His girlfriend, a trooper at the Golden Ring barracks, just happened to have a court appearance in Carroll County yesterday. His two supervisors joined him for breakfast at the Double T Diner in Catonsville before following him to work.

Workman's instincts were right.

A bright yellow banner, "Welcome Back Trooper Eric Workman" draped in front of the Westminster barracks on Route 140, greeted him.

As Workman pulled up, Lt. Dean Richardson, the barracks commander, motioned him toward the front entrance. There, fellow troopers - in full regalia - and staff lined up, embracing and saluting Workman.

"He's definitely the type of guy you want in your corner," Sgt. Doug Reitz, one of Workman's supervisors, said. "He's definitely someone who hasn''t lost touch with the reason he became a police officer."

Workman, who was shot and critically wounded on the job three months ago, officially returned to work yesterday. A fugitive in a Carroll County home invasion shot Workman during the pre-dawn raid of a Baltimore County home Dec. 12, authorities said. Police returned fire, hitting the suspect, Steven T. Jones, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Workman was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with a bullet - that had struck him in the armpit and hit his lung and kidney - lodged in his abdomen.

Doctors removed his spleen, but the bullet remains. He was released after a week under the care of Dr. Thomas M. Scalea, the surgeon who treated Workman in 1998 when he was struck by a car and nearly killed while on duty.

Workman was named Carroll County's Trooper of the Year in February, an honor for which he was nominated by his supervisors before he was shot.

Despite his two critical injuries, Workman will be back tracking down fugitives this week with the barracks' criminal investigations unit.

"I don't like working behind a desk," Workman said during the celebration. "I like the hunt. I like to go out and do law enforcement jobs. This is what I want to do."

Copyright 2007 Baltimore Sun

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