WHITESTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — A community continues to show their support for a Whitestown police officer. He was diagnosed with a condition in April that left him unable to walk.
Sergeant Dan Boutwell never expected all of this love and support from so many people in his community. He’s been with the police department for more than 20 years.
He said he woke up one day thinking he was heading into work, but instead he woke up fighting for his life.
“Woke up one morning, I had a sinus infection. Woke up one morning, was paralyzed from the neck down. All I could do was talk, that was it, nothing else,” said Boutwell.
Boutwell said there’s not a day that goes by where he doesn’t think about putting on his uniform.
“Soon as I’m able to walk again (and) the doctors say I can do it without putting one of my guys in danger, I’m back there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
Doctors diagnosed Boutwell with Guillain Barre Syndrome. He said it’s a disease that attacks the nervous and muscular system.
“Here I am now trying to learn to walk again, getting all my muscles back to working and it’s tough. It’s hard, it hurts, I still have pain in my feet and legs all the time,” he said.
He’s now recovering, going to physical therapy every other day. Boutwell said he can’t wait to get back to serving and protecting his community.
“When you get to my age and as long as I’ve been doing it you’re like, what person can I go to change their tire for them or what I can do to help this person,” he said. “It’s not all about writing tickets it’s not all about taking people to jail. It’s about helping your community that’s what you’re there for.”
Boutwell returned to the police department for the first time in August for the National Night Out event. The city named a street after him. He said he couldn’t help but to cry seeing the support, including from his chief.
“The type of community policing you hear about and you read about in books and stories but you never get to witness it and that’s the kind of policeman he is,” said Chief Dennis Anderson, Whitestown Metropolitan Police Department.
The chief said there’s a big void in the department. His colleagues are waiting for him to come back.
“He would always be the first there to help if somebody need something and I think this is our time to step up and help him,” Anderson said.
Family set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his medical bills. Click here if you would like to help.