Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Officer Tim Jones was shot on March 19, 2016. According to police, he was ” investigating a stolen motor vehicle complaint when fellow officers, on a separate call of a possible break in to a vacant home, discovered the reported stolen vehicle at that vacant house. Officer Jones responded, and when it was discovered that a suspect was inside of the vacant house, Officer Jones was among those who worked to take the suspect into custody. The first to contact the suspect, Officer Jones was shot in the head and critically injured, the most significant incident to occur in the nearly 70 year history of the Park Forest Police Department.”
Today, Officer Jones left the rehab facility where he had been recovering, heading for his parents’ home.
Park Forest Police Officer Timothy Jones, shot in the line of duty 14 months ago, wheeled out of a west suburban rehab facility on Friday, dressed in full uniform, to a standing ovation from colleagues, friends, and family.
Jones was rolled out of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, where his squad car was waiting for him outside, emblazoned with the message “TimStrong,” which has been the Park Forest Police Department’s rallying cry since he was shot in the head and face in March 2016.
Park Forest Police Chief Pete Green stood next to the squad car as Jones left the hospital.
“To see him come out in his uniform, it’s beautiful, and it’s great,” he said.
Police put the following statement on the department’s Facebook page to mark the occasion:
It’s been 434 days since Officer Tim Jones has been home.
It’s been 435 days since Tim last put on his baby blue uniform shirt and strolled into the Park Forest Police Department for a night shift that would end the next morning in his attempting to take an armed suspect into custody. A patrol shift that would end in him being shot multiple times and suffering devastating injuries.
But the end of that patrol shift wasn’t the end of Tim’s story, despite early prognoses that he would not survive his traumatic brain injury, and that even if he improbably did, that he would not regain consciousness. Instead, what seemingly was an ending on March 19, 2016, was instead a slow and painful and yet inspiring and odds-defying rebirth of one of the strongest and most positive individuals we’ve ever had the pleasure to know.
Today, proudly wearing his dress uniform, Officer Tim Jones left the Marionjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, and 1 year and 78 days after his critical injury in the line-of-duty, went home.
It would be difficult to express the full measure of thankfulness and happiness we at the Park Forest Police Department have for Tim and his family, though based on the community response to Tim’s story, we think you understand.
Tim is an incredible individual who, in his short time as a rookie police officer, was already making a significant impact on the Village of Park Forest and its police department. And he is supported by an equally incredible family who has taught many of us what it means to have faith and perseverance in some very dark times. And while Tim’s recovery is far from over and he still has much fighting ahead, today we celebrate his home-coming and the fight by Tim and the vast support system behind him which has led to this remarkable day.
Finally, we know that many people who read this post will be in the midst of going through their own dark time. As police officers, we come across far too many who are suffering from physical illness, mental illness, poverty, substance abuse, exposure to violence, and family strife. Society hasn’t given us the tools to fix each of these issues. But our wish is that, in some small way, Tim’s story serves as an example that there is still hope, even when hope seems exhausted, and that there is purpose in fighting even when victory seems unlikely. And if it seems odd to have this message combined with a celebration of Tim’s coming home, know that Tim didn’t strap on his ballistic vest and duty belt each shift for himself, but to serve others. And Tim knows that his injury was not borne in vain, and that the story of his battle to recovery is simply an extension of his oath to serve. It is an oath which has cost him so much, but a cost that he is bearing with remarkable positiveness and strength.
It’s been 434 days since Officer Tim Jones has been home. But today, friends, he’s home.
Let Tim’s message be that we can all come home.