That Jason Schechterle was able to stand at a lectern Wednesday with his wife, Suzie, by his side and announce his medical retirement from police work is in itself a miracle.
Schechterle is the Phoenix officer who suffered severe burns in a fiery crash in 2001, then was placed in a drug-induced coma. He emerged disfigured but driven to recover and return to the police work he loved so much. He realized his dream of becoming a homicide detective, while also taking time to speak out on behalf of other burn victims.
As reported Thursday by the Tribune’s Katie McDevitt, Schechterle will not be shrinking away from the public. He will continue to assist the homicide squad as a volunteer reserve officer, and will continue his public speaking. Both of these points are good news for the Valley, as Schechterle is viewed by his peers as a quality police officer and the story of his recovery can only provide inspiration for us all.
In announcing his retirement, Schechterle said a determining factor was his inability to carry a firearm because of the injuries to his hands; this limited the duties he could perform.
“You want to do this job the way it’s meant to be,” Schechterle said. “But without a gun on your hip, you can’t do that.”
We don’t see Schechterle as less of an officer because he does not carry a sidearm, but we respect his dedication to duty nonetheless. His understated take on his condition and his perseverance is all the more inspiring:
“Just because something happened and changed my life a little bit, I still go on,” Schechterle said.