For all his months of rehabilitation, Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce didn’t mind a little good-natured teasing as he sat through roll call Tuesday with the department’s Tactical Medical Unit.
“All right, everyone’s on patrol today,” Lt. Scott Keenum instructed the group of officers, “and Matt, you’ll be washing my car.”
And when Pearce was led to his office, he found a handwritten sign above his computer: “Matt Pearce’s desk. Hero computing only.”
Pearce, who was shot five times while chasing two suspects in March, returned to part-time desk work Tuesday.
He won’t be in uniform, and he’ll only be working an hour or two a day, filing paperwork and helping ensure the medic unit is compliant with state standards.
“Your life is going to be boring for a while,” Keenum told him. “I promised your wife that.”
Pearce hopes to return full-time by March. For now, he’s working to get his strength back. The shooting shattered his leg and wounded the right side of his face.
“My brain’s on par,” he said, “but my body just definitely is not. It’s getting better by the week. I’ve noticed big changes in the last week, but I still have a very long way to go.”
As a full-time “TacMed” officer, Pearce will respond to calls and assist on scenes as a medic. He was a part of the unit before it was dismantled last October.
One of the officers he trained with, Brandi Kamper, helped save his life when she rushed into what police described as a “hot zone” during the March shooting. In the weeks afterward, the department decided to reinstate the TacMed unit.
Pearce isn’t apprehensive about returning to the force, even if it means entering a dangerous situation.
“People asked me why I would want to return to the Police Department. Why wouldn’t I?” Pearce said. “I worked my tail off to earn that patch and badge, and I’m proud of it.”