This Marine Veteran Is The First Ever Double Amputee To Become A Police Officer

news
AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

The mission: Liberate a small town in Afghanistan overrun by the Taliban.


That night in 2011, Lance Cpl. Matias Ferreira led fellow Marines into Musa Qala. They cleared out a compound, and then came the fateful moment — Ferreira, a machine-gunner, jumped from a rooftop to retrieve some supplies.

He didn’t see the 30-pound bomb concealed in the ground.

His legs were shattered in the blast. Both had to be amputated below the knee.

Ferreira, now a 28-year-old married father who stands on titanium prosthetics, soon fulfills one of his childhood dreams. On Friday, he became a Suffolk County police officer.

“I’m just really eager and excited to prove myself to my colleagues in my new job, my new career, that I’m capable of doing the job just as well as somebody with both legs,” Ferreira said in an interview Thursday at the police academy in Brentwood. “I don’t think the prosthetics hinder me in any way.”

Ferreira is believed to be one of the nation’s first double amputees to serve as a fully active police officer, said Suffolk Assistant Commissioner Justin Meyers, a department spokesman.

Police Commissioner Timothy Sini called Ferreira “the quintessential example of what we’re looking for” in a cop.

“This is someone who served our nation, paid a significant sacrifice, and is now able to overcome adversity in a tremendous way,” Sini said. “He’s done a terrific job as a recruit in the academy, both physically, academically and in his leadership to the other recruits, and he’s going to make a fine officer.”

Ferreira just completed 29 weeks of training. He’ll drive a police car like any other officer and is scheduled to start patrolling the First Precinct in West Babylon next week.

There were no shortcuts for the recruit with artificial feet. He passed all the physical demands for someone in his age category, running a mile and a half within the required 12 minutes, 29 seconds (his personal best is 11 minutes), and doing 38 sit-ups and 29 push-ups.

Ferreira used humor to break the ice about his prosthetics.

“A lot of guys are like, ‘What happens if one of your legs break?’ ” he said. “ ‘I’m sorry to say, but if I break my leg, I go in the trunk, I put on a new one. If you break your leg, you’re out for a couple months, my friend.’ ”

Fellow recruits were supportive, urging him on. In a sign of respect, they made him class president.

Lt. Steven Rohde, who heads the academy’s recruit training section, said he periodically asked Ferreira if he needed any special accommodations.

The answer was always the same: “I don’t need anything, sir.”

Six weeks into training, Rohde said recruits trained with retractable batons, practicing striking a man in a protective suit posing as a noncompliant, aggressive suspect.

In a moment caught on video, the suspect charged Ferreira, causing him to fall, but the recruit quickly regained his footing.

Said Rohde: “We didn’t know if he would fall and not be able to get back up, so for us it was an important moment. . . . Kind of an exclamation point on ‘this guy’s the real deal.’ ”

After his war injuries, including a broken femur and pelvis, Ferreira spent about a year in the hospital and undergoing rehabilitation at a military hospital outside Washington, D.C. Falling into depression wasn’t an option, he said. He drew strength from his faith and strong family support.

Within three months, he was walking. Two months after that, he ran a 5-mile race.

He also played on The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, which brought him to a Smithtown bar in 2012, where he met his future wife, Tiffany. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Tianna.

At the urging of his wife’s cousin, Jereme Matthews, a veteran Second Precinct officer, Ferreira took the police Civil Service test in June 2015. With credit for his military service, he scored a perfect 100.

Ferreira, who is fluent in Spanish, was born in Uruguay. His family moved to the Atlanta area when he was a child to pursue “the American dream,” he said.

As a child attending the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, he recalled admiring the uniformed service members and police. He told his father he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement or the military.

It was a calling an improvised explosive device couldn’t shatter.

“I was given a second chance,” Ferreira said. “Not many people survive an IED blast like I did. I don’t want to be one of the guys who just kind of gives up on themselves.”

———

©2017 Newsday. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
George W. Bush/Instagram

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.

In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less