How much did you love your job?
“I had the best job,” says Indio Police Sgt. Jeff Merritt, as he holds back tears.
We first met Sgt. Merritt in 2015 on the streets of Indio when he was warning drivers on their cell phones about the dangers.
“It’s important not to operate a car with a cell phone,” Merritt told a driver he caught on his phone, and showed mercy, letting him off with a warning.
October 9th 2016 while patrolling those same streets Sgt. Merritt was struck by a driver under the influence.
“A car turned left in front of me and I knew immediately, this was going to be bad,” he says.
In an instant his life changed forever.
“At the hospital I found out I had a severe spinal cord injury,” says Sgt. Merritt.
While he was told he would not be able to walk again, people who know Sgt. Merritt know he’ll prove experts wrong.
“I’m working very hard in physical therapy to get as mobile as I can,” he says.
But getting that treatment is expensive, he’s now fighting for the care he needs.
“My department and my city were amazing … but after the first year you are then pushed off to the insurance company … and that’s when we started to have problems with approvals for treatment … that’s when it struck me this is going to be a battle,” says Sgt. Merritt.
Former police officer Jeff Stine the founder and president of Cover Now says that’s why he created the non profit, “There’s anywhere from 10 to 20,000 catastrophically injured police officers in America at any given time, and during that time what they’re battling insurance is battling insurance companies to get their needs met that’s why you see Go Fund Mes and pancake breakfasts at firehouses for police officers who get injured.”
On this day he handed Sgt. Merritt a check for $5,000 to help pay for his rehab and hopes to do the same for the thousands of officers suffering in silence.
“That’s a check in there from a lot of people that love you and care about you,” says Stine to Sgt. Merritt.
Sgt. Merritt says he misses wearing the badge and answering the call for help and is grateful to those who are now answering his, “Thank you, know that it comes from my heart, I wish there were other words, it doesn’t seem enough to me but that’s all I have.”
For more information or donate to the Cover Now Fund click here: Cover Now