Brazil Police Patrolman Chris Blila is back on duty nearly five months after he and Sgt. Dave Archer were injured in the line of duty.
The two officers sustained injuries to their hands and arms during a Jan. 13 domestic disturbance call and had been off duty ever since. Archer has not yet been cleared by his doctors to return to work, but after an extended convalescence, Blila resumed his duties as a patrolman in mid-May.
"We're glad to have Blila back, and we're waiting on Dave," said Brazil Police Chief Mark Loudermilk, who made sure both officers were allowed ample recovery time.
"You've got to make sure you're there, because the first day, in the first five minutes, you could get into another fight," he said. "You have to be ready to do that."
Loudermilk said the officers' absence was beginning to strain the department's staff.
"Myself and my detectives had to work uniform nights at first," he said. "We were really thin for a while."
Archer and Blila were injured while investigating a domestic dispute at the home of Larry Douglas Winn, 427 E. Tennessee Street.
The officers were attempting to mediate a disagreement between Winn and his son, Brandon Douglas Winn. The situation escalated, and Archer and Blila attempted to arrest Brandon Winn.
At that point, Larry and Brandon Winn attacked the officers. The injuries to their hands and wrists were sustained while the two attempted to protect their firearms from their assailants, the officers said.
Larry Winn was convicted of resisting law enforcement and intimidation April 27 in Clay Superior Court, but a felony battery charge stemming from the attack resulted in a hung jury.
Brandon Winn's trial on charges of resisting law enforcement, battery with serious injury, aggravated battery and illegal consumption of an alcoholic beverage is pending.
Neither Archer nor Blila could be reached for comment for this story.
The Brazil Times reporter Ivy Herron contributed to this report.