04/27/2005

24SevenCop2Cop: News By, For & About Law Enforcement In the West
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Don't call him a "rookie" - This Tacoma officer has spirit

Matt Watters is training to become a Tacoma police officer but he's already seen more action than most of us see in a lifetime of policing. Seventeen months ago he was an Army Ranger serving in Iraq. During an attack, a rocket-propelled grenade severed his lower left leg just below the knee. Despite grievous injury and excruciating pain he fought back, firing 29 rounds at his attacker before his rifle jammed, his squad finished the job by killing his attacker.

After rehabilitation and being fitted with a prosthetic leg the 25-year old wanted to continue serving his country in uniform, so he applied for and was accepted by the Tacoma PD. He had no problems with the physical test and ran the mile in under 12 minutes, fast enough to qualify. He is now halfway through training at the police academy and has gained the respect and admiration of those around him. He is expected to graduate Jan. 20, 2005. He joined the Army at 17, becoming the latest member of his family to join the military. Both his grandfathers served, and his father fought as a Marine in the Vietnam War before joining the Los Angeles Police Department.

"Our only requirement is they are capable of stepping up and doing the job 100 percent," Lt. Karen Kelly said. "We recognize this young man is going to be a leader in our department."

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