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About The Wounded Blue Foundation

About Us 2019-08-14T17:20:16+00:00

We Are An Organization For Injured And Disabled Law Enforcement Officers

Approximately fifty thousand American Law Enforcement Officers are assaulted every year in the United States. Many sustain injuries running the gamut from minor to catastrophic and career ending. Thousands more are injured in traffic accidents, training accidents and other assorted misfortunes while on duty. Those are physical injuries but many more are affected by PTSI (Post Traumatic Stress Injury). We use the term PTSI as opposed to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) because the condition is often treatable to the point of it NOT becoming a “disorder” but in many cases it too becomes an incapacitating injury. Most Americans assume that in the event of sustaining on-duty injuries, law enforcement agencies and the local, county and state governments which employ them would be responsible for taking care of them, financially, medically and psychologically as these injuries are incurred while serving the people they swore to protect. Unfortunately the reality is often quite different. Officers who are hurt often lose a major portion of their salaries during their healing process (if the injuries are only temporarily disabling) and also lose the ability to earn enough to feed their families.

By way of an illustration, recently a Police Officer in a small community in South Dakota was seriously injured during a fight with a combative suspect. He was married and had three children and was an officer for three years. He had been attempting an arrest and the suspect beat him severely, breaking bones, tearing ligaments and other injures that required numerous surgeries. The department that he worked for gave him the medical treatment required and put him on “workers compensation” but in that state that was only two-thirds of his salary. His wife was then forced to quit her job because he required 24-hour care which increased the financial burden. These people were forced to reach out for charity because their financial issues were so great they had no money for diapers or Christmas gifts for their children. Donations were scraped together to assist them through the holidays but this officer should not have been forced to literally beg for help.

These are not isolated incidents. They are happening every day in America and the men and women affected are truly voiceless. The reality is that there is an incredible disparity in how injured and disabled law enforcement officers are treated within our nation. Often the injured officer receives inadequate or sub-par medical treatment as the agency forces them to be treated by medical personnel who are influenced politically or financially by the governing body for cost control reasons. This can lead to injuries worsening and physical conditions deteriorating and if there is not a union or protective association (as is often the case) the officers simply have to accept whatever the agency or city offers. Poor medical treatment and disruptions to pay are all too prevalent which lead to draining the savings of the affected officer and their family causing crushing financial burdens. Besides the physical injuries and accompanying issues, more often than not Post Traumatic Stress Injury also results from the events that caused the physical injuries and in fact it may be the PTSI that IS the disabling injury. It is an unfortunate fact that many law enforcement agencies and their leaders attach a stigma to PTSI. Some refuse to approve treatment resulting in a host of other problems including suicide. The scope of the injustice facing the men and women who proudly serve their country and their communities relating to on-duty physical and emotional injuries and disablement is almost unfathomable. This issue has never been addressed nationally or fundamentally. It is a national tragedy and has been unaddressed in any meaningful way by the federal government and many state governments. It is time to correct this injustice and that will be the mission of THE WOUNDED BLUE, AN ORGANIZATION FOR INJURED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS.

There are approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States employing around 900,000 Federal, State, County and Municipal Law Enforcement Officers. 80% of these agencies employ less than twenty officers. They have different pension systems, employment contracts, some have collective bargaining and unions, some do not. Some are protected by strong Workers Compensation laws and some are not. In short, a Police Officer who is shot or injured and disabled in New York City will be treated entirely differently than in Bismark, North Dakota. The harsh reality is that doing the same dangerous job will not afford the same protections should an injury occur.

The Wounded Blue S.E.A.L. Team

SUPPORT
EDUCATION
ASSISTANCE
LEGISLATION

The Wounded Blue Mission: To improve the lives of injured and disabled Law Enforcement Officers through Support, Education, Assistance and Legislation.

SUPPORT: A National Peer Advocate Support Team to provide The Wounded Blue with support, guidance and resources. Provide information and help complete the application process for the Public Safety Officer Benefit for disabled officers. Create “Camp Blue,” a retreat for injured and disabled officers for peer support and their families for peer support and counseling.

EDUCATION: Create and provide training presentations on The Wounded Blue issues of PTSD, abandonment, emotional/mental health and compassionate care to Law Enforcement Leadership and Rank/File Officers. Utilize International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, State Chiefs and Sheriffs’ Associations, Fraternal Order of Police, Police Benevolent Association, Unions and Law Enforcement Organizations. Provide PTSD prevention training to Active Duty Officers.

ASSISTANCE: Provide emergency financial aid, mental/emotional health treatment referrals, legal assistance referrals, membership benefits of medical/dental discounts, access to private anonymous mental health treatment.

LEGISLATION: Advocate for stronger laws and protections for injured Law Enforcement Officers and universal recognition of PTSD as a Workers’ Compensation Injury. Work for Workers’ Compensation reform and expansion of the Department of Justice Public Officer Safety Benefit program.


Board of Directors

Randy Sutton - The Wounded Blue Foundation injured & disabled law enforcement assistance

Randy Sutton

Randy was one of the most featured officers on the popular television series “COPS”, having appeared in three separate seasons which led to his being cast in a role as a police officer in the Academy Award winning film, “CASINO” with Robert Deniro and Sharon Stone. Other film and TV roles followed, including “FOOLS RUSH IN”, “MISS CONGENIALITY II”, “THE ROAD HOME”, “CLOVERS MOVIE”, “AMERICA’S MOST WANTED” and a co-starring role opposite James Caan in the pilot episode of “LAS VEGAS”.

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Randy was born and raised in Princeton New Jersey, where after graduating High School, he joined the Princeton Borough Police department becoming one of the youngest Police Officers in the state. He served the town for ten years before joining the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department where he served for almost 24 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant. During his service he distinguished himself as one of the highest decorated officers in department history having earned multiple Lifesaving awards, Exemplary Service awards, Community service and a Medal for Valor. He was also awarded a Presidential Point of Light Award by President George Bush for his creation of a reading program for inner city children. He has spoken to thousands of Law Enforcement Officers about what he calls “Ethical Survival” in his hard hitting seminar “Policing With Honor”.

Randy was one of the most featured officers on the popular television series “COPS”, having appeared in three separate seasons which led to his being cast in a role as a police officers in the Academy Award winning film, “CASINO” with Robert Deniro and Sharon Stone. Other film and TV roles followed, including “FOOLS RUSH IN”, “MISS CONGENIALITY II”, “THE ROAD HOME”, “CLOVERS MOVIE”, “AMERICA’S MOST WANTED” and a co-starring role opposite James Caan in the pilot episode of “LAS VEGAS”.

Randy is a nationally known expert and commentator on law enforcement issues and has been featured on FOX & FRIENDS and The ONE AMERICA NEWS NETWORK, “The DR DREW SHOW” and is the “Crime and Safety” on air personality for KTNV TV Las Vegas. He has appeared on hundreds of radio shows across the nation including Patriot Radio, “Malcolm Out Loud”, “”The David Webb Show” and others. His articles have been published in “The New York Daily News”, “Townhall.com”, “The Dailey Caller”, “Policeone.com”, “Law Officer Magazine”, Police Magazine” and others. He is the host of “BLUE LIVES RADIO, The Voice of American Law Enforcement” on the OUTLOUD AMERICA NETWORK.

During his police career, Randy penned three popular books about his and other officers’ experiences. “TRUE BLUE Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them” was his first. Moved by the tragedy of 9/11, Randy wanted to bring to life stories from officers on the New York Police Department as well as officers from around the nation. He donated the royalties for a fund set up for the families of the officers killed in the attack. Two other books followed including the critically acclaimed “A COPS LIFE” and a second edition of “TRUE BLUE, To Protect and Serve”.

A series of life changing events took place at the end of Randy’s police career. An officer involved shooting, the terminal illness and subsequent death of his mother and an undiagnosed serious illness combined to cause Randy to suffer a career ending stroke while he was on patrol. As devastating as the stroke was, Randy also believed that it gave him a great gift, “The Gift of Clarity” he terms it, “A Sense of Mission”. Randy’s vision led him on a quest to discover the secret of the success of some of America’s most inspiring people. He traveled the country, interviewing men and women who have touched the lives of others in positive ways, because of those qualities. What resulted is Randy’s newest book became an Amazon # 1 Bestseller, THE POWER OF LEGACY, Personal Heroes of America’s Most Inspiring People”. This moving book includes stories from the creator of the “MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION” Frank Shankwitz, actor and veteran’s activist Gary Sinise, political talk show host and philanthropist, Bill O’Reilly, civil rights activist Niger Innis and many others who have touched the lives of others in great and small ways. Randy discovered the key to success of these amazing people were the “Personal Heroes” who influenced their lives.

It is Randy’s Mission to share these powerful stories and inspire others to become “Personal Heroes” themselves and to reach out with kindness, compassion and charity. Randy’s belief and philosophy is simple yet poignant….” TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE”.

Visit Randy at randysuttonspeaks.com.

Chuck Ley - The Wounded Blue Foundation injured & disabled law enforcement assistance

Chuck Ley

Chuck founded Cornerstone Merchant Services in 2004. By cultivating a culture of integrity and personal responsibility, he led Cornerstone to become the largest credit card processor in Nevada within just a few years. Since founding Cornerstone, Chuck has volunteered time to various non-profit organizations throughout Las Vegas, and he has dedicated himself to strengthening ties between local businesses and the communities around them.

Larry Rubenstein - The Wounded Blue Foundation injured & disabled law enforcement assistance

Larry Rubinstein

Larry is a Managing Director – Investments of the Princeton Sharpe Group of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and serves as the Branch Office Manager of the Princeton, New Jersey office. Larry began his financial services career in 1984, serving high net worth private clients, corporate accounts and non-profit. During his career, Larry spent over a decade acting as NASDAQ Market Maker, giving him a unique perspective on the securities markets.

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He works closely with the Retirement Services Group, Fixed Income trading desks, Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc.’s Consulting Group and the Insurance and Annuity Department to provide access to the best possible services to our clients. Within Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc., Larry works closely with the group to help tailor investment portfolios rooted in strategic asset allocation for individual and institutional investors. He strongly believes that proper asset allocation, based upon a client’s individual investment profile, followed by careful investment manager selections and ongoing monitoring of portfolio progress are the keys to managing volatility and reducing risk. Larry holds the following licenses: General Securities Principal (Series 24), General Securities Representative (Series 7), General Securities Sales Supervisor (Series 9 and 10), Equity Trader Limited Representative (Series 55) and National Commodities Futures (Series 3).

He also holds the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam (Series 63) and the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam (Series 65). He is licensed as an agent for Life Insurance in the States of Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Larry lives in West Windsor, New Jersey and has been an active member of a number of non-profit and community organizations including: Twin W First Aid Squad, EVP of the Local Pop Warner Organization, and Chief of The West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.

Frank Shankwitz

Following high school Frank enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, was stationed in England, and received an Honorable Discharge in 1965. Upon returning home, Frank was employed by Motorola, Inc. for seven years.

In 1972 Frank started his career with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, assigned to the Arizona Highway Patrol as a car officer in Yuma, Arizona where Frank’s interest in working with children began as a coach for the Special Olympics program.

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In 1975 Frank was transferred to the Phoenix area to be part of a new 10-man Motorcycle Tactical Unit designed for work throughout the state. For the next 10 years, whenever assigned to small towns, Frank would visit local grade schools and talk about bicycle safety and let the children sit on his motorcycle.

Frank was one of the primary officers from the Arizona Highway Patrol who was responsible for granting the “wish” of a 7-year old boy with leukemia, who wanted to be a Highway Patrol Motorcycle Officer like his heroes, Ponch and John from the television show, “CHiPs”. Chris was made the first and only Honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer in the history of the Arizona Highway Patrol, complete with a custom made uniform, badge, and Motor Officer Wings.

Chris succumbed to his illness a few days after receiving his “wish”, and was buried with full police honors in Illinois, with Frank leading the police funeral procession.

Chris was the inspiration for Frank’s idea to start a non-profit foundation that would let children ‘make a wish‘ and have it come true.
Frank retired as a Homicide Detective from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, returned as a sworn Reserve Detective assigned to the Prescott Police Department Cold Case Homicide Unit, and is the current secretary/member with the Yavapai County Mounted Sheriff’s Posse. Frank has 42 years of service in law enforcement.

Frank and his wife Kitty continue to reside in Prescott, Arizona. His two adult daughters, three grandchildren and one great-grandson reside in Ohio.

Ron Coury - The Wounded Blue Foundation injured & disabled law enforcement assistance

Ron Coury

A self-made business success and former United States Marine, Ron Coury came to Las Vegas in 1973 and first worked as a casino dealer and realtor. Coury’s first business was the Suburban Lounge West. He went on to open or acquire over 20 successful firms including seven auto dealerships in California and Las Vegas, Suburban Graphics, an International gaming supply company, Thirstbusters Casino, Presidential Limousine Service, Glass Supply Inc. and the Castaways Casino.

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Coury is a property partner in Henderson Kia. He is currently serving as a Board member with Square Panda, Inc., The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Foundation and the Walker Furniture Store’s group. Coury formerly served as a Founding Board member for Nevada First Bank and as Board Chairman for the Marine Corps Support Council of Southern Nevada.

 

Heidi Paulson

Heidi grew up on a ranch in south central Montana where she learned firsthand the value of hard work, family and neighbors. She graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and has worked many years in international business, including textiles and software.

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Advocacy and support for the most vulnerable in our country has long been a passion of hers… second only to raising two children, serving as a U.S. Marine and law enforcement wife, and spending time with her three grandchildren. Her husband of 32 years was critically injured during a traffic stop in 2002, ending his career in law enforcement. Their family’s faith and experience following line of duty disability retirement prompted Heidi to write Dependence Day, a book that includes a number of the struggles many disabled officers and their families face – from thankfulness to financial difficulties, isolation, depression and suicidal thoughts. Sharing their story has been instrumental in helping the Paulsons form a support network for injured officers and families. Heidi maintains an online forum for families, allowing these heroes to connect, encourage one another and share resources.

It is no secret that law enforcement life is hard on families. Both the suicide and divorce rate in LE families are way too high. Following line of duty disability, these rates jump even higher. Heidi has coordinated marriage retreats for disabled LEOs and spouses under Hunting for Heroes. She now serves as the VP of the wounded officers division for How2LoveYourCop; and will be continuing the VOWS (Veterans Of the War on our Streets) marriage retreat program, as well as other outreaches to wounded officers and families, through this organization.

Through their personal experience and this growing network, it became clear that a number of state and federal issues pertaining to disabled officers need to be addressed. Heidi has advocated at both the state and federal level on behalf of disabled first responders for over a decade. These efforts have resulted in legislation being passed, as well as bills currently pending in the U.S. House and Senate, with more issues being drafted into bill language for the next Congress. Recently, Heidi has been invited to represent wounded officers in the PSOB Working Group under the direction of Bureau of Justice Assistance (Department of Justice). This is the first time that disabled officers have been represented in this group.

Heidi believes it is truly an honor to represent the heroes who protect and defend communities throughout our country. For far too long, too many have been pushed aside and forgotten by the communities they once served. Heidi knows how consuming the fight to survive one more day can be, and how exhausting it is for the whole family. “It is time that these heroes, and their families, have a voice, and together we are being heard.”