Although it was a little difficult locating all their equipment after being off duty for almost a year, Brazil City Police Patrolman/K-9 Handler Kenny Hill and his partner, K-9 Officer Anya, returned to work last Wednesday.
At the end of that first night shift, Hill had arrested two suspects for drug related charges.
"It felt great to be back in the uniform again," Hill told The Brazil Times. "It's like riding a bike, you never forget how or what to do."
Hill has been recuperating for approximately 11 months from injuries he sustained in a traffic accident during a high-speed pursuit with a suspect wanted for a probation violation on drug related charges.
On Dec. 20, 2007, after an altercation during the initial traffic stop, Hill was following the suspect's vehicle on State Road 42 in an area near County Road 400 East when his police cruiser hit a patch of ice, spun around, went off the road and struck a tree.
Hill sustained a severe compound fracture of the left shin near his left foot, which was torn backwards from his leg, and a fractured right hip socket in the pelvis area from the impact of the collision with a tree.
Reconstructive surgery was needed to repair the injuries.
"The second surgery really did the trick," Hill said about his medical care and continuing recovery. "I'm at about 95 percent right now and getting better each day. The doctors say I will heal completely and there will be no side affects."
K-9 Officer Anya, who was secured in a kennel carrier inside the vehicle, was bumped and banged around during the collision, but sustained no visible injuries.
Although the two partners trained every day, Hill said there was some concern Anya might be skittish her first day back on duty.
"Anya's great," he said. "I was a little worried about the first time the lights were activated, but she was fine with it. We were ready to go."
Hill said Anya has been training with the two Clay County Sheriff's Department's K-9 Units.
"They all get along and work really well together," Hill said. "Hopefully, within the next few weeks we will be getting recertified on a few of her skills."
Support from the community and local law enforcement officers was always encouraging, but Hill said not being able to do the job he loves was very disheartening at times.
"The guys would call and talk about what was going on, what they were doing and it was tough because I couldn't be there," Hill said.
Hill was released for light duty a couple of months ago, but members of the Common Council of the City of Brazil didn't want him to return to work at the police department until released by a doctor to return to full duty. Although he understood the council members desire for him to have enough time to heal completely, Hill said it was a little tough to swallow.
"The department has been short handed for a while and the most annoying thing for me was not being able to help out. I felt guilty not being able to be there," Hill said. "I'm really glad to be back on the job. There's only so many things you can tear apart and not put back together before you get bored."