May 19, 2023 3:03 am
On this episode of Our American Stories, after several self-defense shootings and the death of his son, it took a nonprofit to keep officer Charles Scott from taking his own life.
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They're some of our favorites. Today we have the story of police officer Charles Scott brought to us by 911 At Ease International. 911 At Ease International provides first responders and their families access to free and confidential trauma informed counseling. Officer Charles Scott grew up in the Central Valley of California and from a young age he knew he wanted to be in law enforcement. Here's Charles with his story. So that's always a question they start with in the academy is why do you want to do this and I was always one that didn't have an answer because it was just always something I've wanted to do. My mom has a essay I wrote in first or second grade what do you want to be when you grow up and it was always a police officer so I mean at this point where you get to drive fast carry a gun and they pay you to fight with people sign me up so that's why I did it it was it seemed like it was better than working in a bank or a corporate office and yeah it's been an amazing ride for sure. I didn't have any any experience with fire or police looking back I sure wish I had because there's so many opportunities in law enforcement all I thought all I knew was what you saw in cops so that's what I wanted to do but no my dad grew up we grew up he was construction superintendent for construction company my mom was a stay-at-home mom with us boys so yeah it was more of a just a working family no law enforcement experience at all.
I don't really know where it comes from you know I'm a firm believer that you can't create leaders leaders are born with a calling and sure you can do training and you can enhance your leadership skills but I think you know true leaders are someone that that God calls into leadership and even at a young age I would always find myself being the class president being the captain of the sports teams it's hard to look back when someone says wow you've done all these amazing things and you look back and like I'm just living my life you know you don't under you don't appreciate it as anything but that's just what I do. Charles married his high school sweetheart and they have now been married 25 years and although he was offered an athletic scholarship to college he decided to get into law enforcement as soon as he could. Seeing what's on tv with just the cops you you put in the application and I went through the academy I think my my first oral interview that I had I wore jeans and a collared shirt and thought that that was good so there's a lot of learning a curve as far as that whole process you really start being evaluated from the time you submit an application so it's you know the interviews the background checks the personal history statement then you have the chief's interview so it's just it's a lot and being from a small country town in the in the mountains it definitely was a learning experience for someone trying to figure this out I was only 21 when I started this so didn't have a whole lot of life experience but I figured oh we'll figure it out on the way. After the hiring process Charles started his career in the central valley where he got in his first officer involved shooting. Yeah so I was at Chowchilla police department which is in Madera county the central valley and we got a 911 transfer from CHP saying that there was someone outside that wanted to kill themselves so they sent myself and another partner out to it it was really close we actually walked from the police department to where she was supposed to be located we turn a corner and she's laying on her back kind of I call it in a birthing position with her knees up and she's pointing a gun at us between her legs kind of down towards us my partner and I start to separate I start moving away from him because I want to create distance between the two of us to make her decide what she wants to do as I started moving away from my partner I saw her kind of tracking me with the gun and that's when I started firing I fired four shots my partner fired two shots I actually shot the gun which we found out afterwards I actually shot the gun out of her hand I shot her in the pocket but she still wasn't responding like you think they should when they were getting shot so I thought I was missing and that was the only time I really told myself you know slow down take a deep breath find your sights because you're missing and then I shot her and I saw kind of a red spot on her clothes and then it kind of started to grow and I knew that I had shot her because that was the blood coming out she called 911 herself and it was at that time 911s always went to CHP and then CHP would transfer them to our department we didn't know this until after they reviewed and even the dispatcher missed it she actually said I'm going to kill myself and I'm going to take as many cops with me as I can we didn't know that until later when they reviewed the the audio and our dispatcher even missed it so yeah she called for herself it was a suicide by cop is what she was trying to do the whole incident was really surreal I mean you we had Smith and Wesson guns we actually had to decock them once they were were cocked you had to manually do it I don't remember doing that I don't remember putting my gun back in my holster so there's some things that you just respond so quickly to your training you don't even realize you do it I remember thinking to myself as I'm watching her track me with her gun telling myself you better do it before she does and that's what really you know prompted me and motivated me to to fire that first round it was empowering once I started firing because then I felt like I was back in control I was dictating the situation I was no longer responding to a threat I was now trying to eliminate the threat and everything kind of slowed down and you're listening to police officer Charles Scott tell his story he knew in the first or second grade he wanted to be a cop we also learned about his first encounter with someone who was armed and who was intent on killing cops suicide by cop it's known by the way in the business and this was exactly what he was faced with as a young cop and when we come back police officer Charles Scott's story continues here on Our American Stories here at Our American Stories we bring you inspiring stories of history sports business faith and love stories from a great and beautiful country that need to be told we can't do it without you our stories are free to listen to but they're not free to make if you love our stories in America like we do please go to our americanstories.com and click the donate button give a little give a lot help us keep the great American stories coming that's our americanstories.com we're celebrating our favorite holiday streaming day on May 20th it may not be an office holiday but we're working on it and iHeartRadio is dedicating an entire day to streaming our favorite music and podcasts on roku binge all the podcast episodes of Dear Chelsea with Chelsea Handler before the new season kicks off or dance in your living room to the hottest songs on the hit nation music channel on the Roku channel for free so stream what you love and get endless entertainment with Roku happy hashtag streaming day want to get away but still listen to your favorite radio stations and podcasts then listen up iHeartRadio is now the onboard music partner on select southwest flights that means you can jam out to your favorite local radio station even if you're flying coast to coast check out expertly curated stations that are perfect for kids and adults available on most domestic southwest flights and perfect for a full non-stop or those pesky minutes between a movie ending and your plane touching down so grab your headphones raise your tray table and relax with iHeartRadio and Southwest Airlines what's that we hear oh just the sound of a Vizio v-series sound bar for less than 200 that's right you can get room filling sound with Dolby audio and DTS Virtual X technology for a steal right now whether you want to blast iHeartRadio and stream all your favorite music radio and podcasts or just hear crystal clear dialogue with powerful sound all around it's the perfect time to upgrade your audio but hurry these deals won't last long so get yourself to Walmart today and we continue with our American stories and we've been listening to officer Charles Scott share stories from his time in law enforcement we left off after Charles had gotten in his first officer-involved shooting with a woman was attempting suicide by cop let's return to Charles she survived thankfully I actually got to talk to her about two months later she she was doing really well she actually thanked us oddly as that sounds but I went through some counseling with the department really didn't affect me my wife when I came home after the investigation the initial investigation she asked you know how are you you just shot someone I said well I've shot a thousand people in my mind trying to prepare myself for it so there were really wasn't a whole lot of emotion attached to it and really at first that's what kind of freaked me out was that I wasn't freaked out about it but talking to the doctor kind of laid it out a little bit uh for me went back to work I actually I got to to witness with her I actually prayed with her on the street and I think that played a lot in my recovery and how I was able to to go back so quickly I really didn't have any lasting effects because I think I kind of got to close that chapter with her she didn't die and she'd said you know I haven't had a drink of alcohol since that day and she didn't she said I don't intend to ever again so she was fortunate that I wasn't a better shot I guess but it all worked out and I think that played a big part in my healing was knowing that she didn't die and there was a purpose for it maybe so there wasn't really any residual effect because of that shooting and after that shooting is when my wife and I decided that if we were going to be doing this kind of line of work we should be doing it in an area that we're raising our boys in a good environment where we enjoy it who doesn't enjoy the the central coast so that's what kind of generated our desire to kind of find an agency back over here and landed at Lompoc police department I had three boys at the time Noah was about 12 when we moved over here maybe a little younger and then Jordan's our middle son so he'd be about 10 maybe 11 and then our baby in the family was probably seven or eight Zachary at the time so we come over and and you know we're living at the coast we're homeschooling our boys so we're going to the to the ocean and the beach on Tuesday at 10 o'clock in the morning really living our best life I was succeeding doing really well at the department I was a lateral so I had a lot more experience than some of the newer guys so that immediately gave me some credibility at the department I had been in a shooting no one at the department had been in a shooting so again that that lends to some some credibility to my abilities so yeah I was we were doing really well we started fostering started trying to help kids in the foster care community ended up adopting now we've ended up adopting three little ones through the foster care yeah we were living as perfect of a life as I ever wanted or ever hoped for Charles and his family were enjoying their life on the coast until their whole world got turned upside down when they got terrible news about one of their children Noah was fifth 14 at the time he started losing some weight he started getting really pale and we could start seeing some physical changes in him he had recently bought himself fitbit watch and he started trying to to walk a little bit more run a little bit more so we thought maybe he was just losing some of the baby fat because he was starting to work out a little bit more one day he walks down the stairs into the living room and my middle son Jordan says no you look like a ghost even your your lips are white so my wife took him to his pediatrician and after some tests probably about two months in July of 2016 we were told that Noah had a ll leukemia that's acute lymphoblastic leukemia a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells and is the most common childhood cancer it was difficult to it was difficult to hear obviously when you you spend your life protecting people and fixing problems to hear that your son has cancer and that there's nothing that you can do to fix it was difficult it obviously we have such a close family with my side of the family as well as my wife Kristen's side of the family we're so close with all my siblings and our parents that it really affected the entire family knowing that Noah was having to go through this and and really that July of 2016 is when we started this 16 month in my life that I wouldn't wish on on anyone I wouldn't wish on my my worst enemy I went from having the picture-perfect life picture-perfect kids successful in my job to literally in my life like a snow globe being turned completely upside down in the matter of 18 months a matter of actually 16 months we went from my son being diagnosed with leukemia four months after that diagnosis I'm in my first officer-involved shooting at Lompoc police department where a guy charges at me with a knife and I have to shoot and kill him that's in November of 2016 June 30th of 2017 my son Noah passes away from leukemia I go back to work soon after his funeral and 363 days from my first officer-involved shooting I'm involved in a second officer-involved shooting where we had to shoot and kill a subject who had just killed his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend so and literally 16 months I went from the perfect life to my son being diagnosed being in an officer-involved shooting my son dying and then being in another officer-involved shooting it was a time filled with unmeasurable stress when anyone goes through difficult times they need support and thankfully Charles community rallied around his family in amazing ways I can't speak highly more highly enough about the central coast and specifically Lompoc when my son got diagnosed at one time my chief put a ribbon on every one of our law enforcement vehicles for the department in support of Noah they would do fundraisers they did a fundraiser at a pizza factory in town and there was a five-hour wait for pizzas because the community turned out so strong and supportive Noah they literally painted and put ribbons and balloons down the entire main street in Lompoc for orange and black which are the the leukemia colors for the kind of cancer he had the support was tremendous when when Noah was diagnosed and then obviously because we were so out there in the community when I was involved in the shooting my name got released and the community was amazing and supporting my family during that losing Noah the the community was as devastated as we were I'll never forget two days after he passed I had to take our younger kids to the mall in Santa Maria to get some clothes for the funeral and as I'm riding the escalator going down this woman looks at me and she immediately starts crying and I've never seen this woman in her in my life and she when I get down to the bottom of the escalator she hugs me and says I'm so sorry I was really praying for Noah and to this day I have no idea who she was but she recognized me and came up and and she was heartbroken over the loss of Noah so the community was just amazing in supporting Noah and my family during the this difficult time losing a child is it's indescribable they don't even have a word for it and I know why because every part of you hurts and to have to deal with not only that but going through two officer-involved shootings within a year it was a very difficult time for my family and I and you're listening to police officer Charles Scott's story and what a 16-month time period that was for him his family and as you could hear the community itself which rallied to his support and help not just for his family but his extended family but still how did he cope how did he get on day to day how did he continue to do his job the answers to these questions and more the story of Charles Scott continues here on Our American Stories we're celebrating our favorite holiday streaming day on May 20th it may not be an office holiday but we're working on it and iHeartRadio is dedicating an entire day to streaming our favorite music and podcasts on Roku binge all the podcast episodes of Dear Chelsea with Chelsea Handler before the new season kicks off or dance in your living room to the hottest songs on the hit nation music channel on the Roku channel for free so stream what you love and get endless entertainment with Roku happy hashtag streaming day want to get away but still listen to your favorite radio stations and podcasts then listen up iHeartRadio is now the onboard music partner on select southwest flights that means you can jam out to your favorite local radio station even if you're flying coast to coast check out expertly curated stations that are perfect for kids and adults available on most domestic southwest flights and perfect for a full non-stop or those pesky minutes between a movie ending and your plane touching down so grab your headphones raise your tray table and relax with iHeartRadio and Southwest Airlines what's that we hear oh just the sound of a Vizio v-series sound bar for less than 200 dollars that's right you can get room filling sound with Dolby audio and DTS Virtual X technology for a steal right now whether you want to blast iHeartRadio and stream all your favorite music radio and podcasts or just hear crystal clear dialogue with powerful sound all around it's the perfect time to upgrade your audio but hurry these deals won't last long so get yourself to Walmart today and we return to our American stories into the story of Charles Scott he's a police officer in Lompoc California and that's coastal California north of Los Angeles we left off after Charles had had the most difficult year of his life within 16 months his son got sick and passed away and he'd experienced two officer-involved shootings let's return to Charles Scott so looking back at at that 16 months after the first shooting I went to speak with our doctor that was basically contracted with our agency I really I felt okay about that I didn't have a whole lot of baggage because of that I mean it was difficult I took someone's life so it was difficult but slowly that it just started kind of adding up and piling up you know my son was diagnosed we were dealing with my son's treatment then I had my first shooting and then my son passed away and nobody really knows what to tell say to you you know if you haven't had a child die you can say what what you can but nobody really knows what what you're going through so then the second shooting and I'll never forget this kind of will illustrate just how dark of a place I was in when the second shooting when he started shooting at my sergeant I remember getting out of my car and thinking to myself today I'm going to see Noah and that was my son's name that passed away and there was no fear there was no sadness I didn't even think about my wife or my other kids it was just I missed Noah so much that that's what I was excited about and after it was all said and done and I wasn't hurt or wasn't killed I remember being so angry at that guy not for me having to kill him but because he couldn't kill me because that's how dark it was for me as I just missed my son so much that I was mad and that's when I really identified that I was in a dark spot I have a loving wife I have at that time I had four other kids that needed me as a dad but I it was so dark that all I cared about was seeing my son again after that shooting they sent me they recommended that I speak to the doctor again he wasn't real responsive he was from LA and it was always changing his schedule and it just changing his schedule and it just didn't work really well the last session I had with him we had to do it over phone and that's when he tells me well I think you need to really think about what you're passionate about because I don't ever see you going back into law enforcement which was like a dagger in my heart because that's all I really knew that's all I was really good at and now this doctor is telling me in the darkest time of my life that he's going to take something else away from me I went and I spoke to my chief in desperation and said this is not working he wants to retire me and you know at that time I was wasn't even 40 years old yet and I said I don't know anything else my chief and my captain who has now been promoted to my current chief they were good enough to say you know if you know somebody or if you know a program that you need to reach out to do it and we'll make sure that it gets covered paid for whatever it may be and that's when Mike McGrew co-founder CEO and executive director of 911 Addie's International came into the picture Mike McGrew had reached out to me I don't know how he knew our story Mike retired from Santa Barbara PD as a sergeant and Santa Barbara PD was amazing when my son was sick in Santa Barbara they would they would bring us food they would have us call them if we needed anything and they would come and bring stuff over while they were on duty so they just really took care of my son and my family my wife my wife would spend sometimes 60 days straight at the hospital with Noah and Santa Barbara PD made it a point to come by and check on us so I'm assuming that that's how Mike found out about me and our story I was in such a dark place I didn't even really register how I first made contact with Mike or the Addie's program but Mike had suggested the Addie's program and told me a little bit about it and I reached out to them went and spoke to Dr. Barb. Barbara she was great I spent probably two maybe three months going down there and seeing her at least once a week she was amazing Mike would come in and we would cry together we would pray together he was just a huge support and the Addie's program was just it was so easy it was easy to use it was easy to access it was definitely a life vest or a light turned on in a very dark spot in my life. 911 Addie's International was exactly what Charles needed to return to the career he loved so much. My goal was to get well enough to return to the streets and be a police officer I didn't know what that looked like remember I was going in having already been told by a medical professional that I needed to retire so I wasn't trying to find someone just to say yeah go back to work we'll clear you because that's not what they do I had to be safe enough I had to be secure enough I had to be established in my heart that I could do the job again and that's what the Addie's program did is that it allowed me to work through what I was dealing with to be able to have the confidence to return to the streets it's been five years or four years since my son passed away we're coming up on November November that it'll be five years the shooting the first shooting and I'm successful in my job I'm on the sergeant's list I've returned to work and this is something that I was told I would never be able to do again we've since adopted another daughter and my wife and I are strong and have a strong foundation I have a great relationship with my kids I don't have an alcohol abuse problem I don't even drink and those are all pitfalls when someone goes through critical incidents that they do some self-harm stuff and through the Addie's program I was given the tools to avoid such activity and to not be so self-destructive he now has the desire to help other young officers deal with their own mental health problems the culture of law enforcement is changing so much that there's so much stress put on officers and it seems like it's changing every day I've only been doing it for almost 16 years and I never thought I would get to the point where I would say you know when I was a young officer but unfortunately we're there so these critical incidences are going to happen and I tell the young guys that I have a chance to mentor with I tell them that if you've created a 30-year career and you've been promoted every time you've got all the specialties you've got all the awards you've got all the accolades that you could ever have as a professional law enforcement but when you pull into the driveway your wife or your kids say to themselves crap dad's home then you have failed in this career because when it's all over the only thing that you're going to have is your family and you owe it to yourself and you owe it to them to take care of your mental health there is such a stigma about mental health and law enforcement I cannot say enough good things about the at ease program I know without a doubt if I were to get in another critical incident that my first outreach would be to someone at the at ease program and a great job is always by faith on the production of the piece and a special thanks to officer Charles Scott with opening up it's hard for cops and first responders to talk about themselves and their problems they're too busy taking care of others and that there's a place like 911 at ease international there to help all the first responders and again the confidentiality is the key and you can learn more about 911 at ease international by going to 911 aei.org I love what he said about them and allowed me to get the confidence to go back to work to go back to the streets to the job I loved charles scott's story here on our american stories we're celebrating our favorite holiday streaming day on may 20th it may not be an office holiday but we're working on it and i heart radio is dedicating an entire day to streaming our favorite music and podcasts on roku binge all the podcast episodes of dear chelsea with chelsea handler before the new season kicks off or dance in your living room to the hottest songs on the hit nation music channel on the roku channel for free so stream what you love and get endless entertainment with roku happy hashtag streaming day want to get away but still listen to your favorite radio stations and podcasts then listen up i heart radio is now the onboard music partner on select southwest flights that means you can jam out to your favorite local radio station even if you're flying coast to coast check out expertly curated stations that are perfect for kids and adults available on most domestic southwest flights and perfect for a full non-stop or those pesky minutes between a movie ending and your plane touching down so grab your headphones raise your tray table and relax with i heart radio and southwest airlines grab a shiny new pair of mouse ears for you and the kids because as a walt disney world authorized seller undercover tourist lets you enjoy the most magical place on earth and save up to 82 per ticket that means more pirates more teacups and more magic moments together for less you know you just can't wait to go visit undercovertourist.com now to book your hotel and car rental and enjoy 30 off your walt disney world experience and with a 365 day refund guarantee there's no excuse undercovertourist.com
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-19 04:27:54 / 2023-05-19 04:39:18 / 11