Polk County Sheriff's Office
Winter Haven, FL
Mike Braswell and his partner Paul were working in conjunction with the Pro Cap Program, investigating a series of burglary trends in a small Florida Neighborhood.
The officers noticed a young man riding a bicycle down the road; they would not have been suspicious however the young man was riding late at night in the dark.
According to Officer Braswell, his suspicious grew when the individual quickly crossed the street and later jumped off his bike upon realizing that they were Police Officers. "It was the look on his face when we pulled him over...the wad of cash that fell from his pocket...I've seen it 100 times and every time its drug related."
After pulling him over to ask if everything was alright, Mike Braswell and his partner attempted to build a rapport with the young man.
Shortly after the suspect agreed to allow officers to search him, he gave the Officers his ID and headed toward the Police car for his pat down.
Mike Braswell was following behind him when out of nowhere the suspect turned and fired several shots.
Officer Braswell watched his partner stumble backwards and fall to the ground; he had been shot.
"He was only five to seven feet away...I fired my weapon from my hip and then I felt myself getting hit twice in the vest, once in the hand,
and then again in the leg as I fell to the ground."
According to Officer Braswell, he, the suspect, and his partner were all lying wounded on the ground and his partner was fighting for his life.
The suspect had dropped his weapon, "I told him not to move and that nobody had to die that night...but he continued to move for his gun and I was forced to shoot him."
According to his supervisor, Mike Braswell refused to die; he had a wife and two sons at home.
His supervisor shares his amazement at how Officer Braswell remained so composed through the incident, that he managed to comfort his partner and radio the information to the department in spite of being shot.
His instincts and his will to survive saved his and his partners lives that night.
Doctors told him that he was nearly fatally wounded and that the bullet in his leg was only one centimeter away from taking his life; however Officer Mike Braswell was back to work in six weeks.
The 2010 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year says his department and his community were very supportive to him and his family after the incident.
Although many people may perceive police work as all fun and games, Officer Mike Braswell and his Supervisor say that this incident has made these small town officers realize how quickly their lives could be lost.