Wearing A Badge Again: Wounded Waterloo Officer Returns To Job

By Jeff Neumeyer

November 13, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 7:24 PM EDT

WATERLOO, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- 11 months ago, the small town of Waterloo was turned upside down when a deputy marshal on patrol was felled by a surprise gunshot to the face.

Officer Stephen Brady not only survived, he pushed through a painful recovery to return to the job he loves.

Officer Brady wasn't sure he would ever again be able to perform the duties of a police officer.

But he's back, and he's philosophical about his ordeal.

" Did I expect to be one of those statistics, of an officer shot in the line of duty? No. Did I always know the potential was there? Absolutely," said Brady.

The dangers of police work nearly cost him everything.

December 15th of last year, in the dead of night, he came across Ralph Hardiek and Julie Marie King walking on a darkened Waterloo street.

After approaching them, with no warning, Hardiek pulled out a gun and shot Brady in the face, the bullet shattering his jawbone before exiting below his right ear.

Hardiek was later killed and King wounded in a standoff with other police officers.

Brady endured multiple surgeries and painstaking rehabilitation, always with the goal of being a cop again.

Five or six weeks of intense physical therapy proved Brady could handle the effects of dizziness, common in cases of head trauma.

Officer Brady has been back on the job about seven days. It was roughly day three that he got a call that stirred some memories from the shooting last December.

Dispatch put out a report of a man lying next to U.S. 6 between Waterloo and Butler.

Brady was close and took the call.

He pulled up, and asked the man to step over the ditch.

" Once he made the burm of the roadway, his hands proceeded to go straight into his pockets. For us that's always a red flag, possibly a concealed weapon.”

When it was over, did he feel like he passed a test?

" Actually yes. Believe it or not, that's exactly what it was," said Brady.

Brady says never once has he had a dream, good or bad, about what went on that fateful morning.

But his dream of donning a badge and putting his life on the line again, that's alive and well.

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