Chief says Ashwaubenon officer hit by vehicle is a "walking miracle"

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ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) -- It was all smiles over at Ashwaubenon Public Safety Wednesday as staff members welcome back one of their own.

Officer Brian Murphy radioed in his badge numbers to dispatch Wednesday for the first time since a scary crash almost took his life back in July.

Chief Eric Dunning wasn’t sure he would ever hear Officer Murphy’s badge numbers again, especially from himself.

“His prognosis was not great for the first 48 hours,” said Chief Dunning. “He suffered significant injuries 6 months ago while out on patrol.”

On July 22, 2017, Officer Murphy responded to a car fire on Highway 41. Chief Dunning said as dispatch called and checked in with officers on the scene, there’s one officer who didn’t answer the call.

“Officer Murphy did not respond,” said Chief Dunning. “It was another one of our public safety officers that actually found him and you could just tell in the tone of his voice that something serious had happened up on Highway 41.”

Officer Murphy was outside his vehicle when he was hit by a suspected drunk driver and was in critical condition.

“The prognosis was, ‘Is he going to make it through this?’” said Chief Dunning.

But day-by-day and week-by-week, Chief Dunning said Officer Murphy kept making progress.

“He looked me in the eyes and he said he was coming back,” said Chief Dunning. “Every time we visit him, he told me that.”

Chief Dunning said Officer Murphy is “a walking miracle,” but he didn’t do it alone. Chief Dunning said he had a lot of support along the way, including his family, co-workers and community.

“The support we’ve received from the community, I mean the cards and letters from all across the nation from different groups,” said Chief Dunning. “People who don't even know Officer Murphy or how to spell Ashwaubenon, you know that is the neat thing.”

When Officer Murphy was released from the hospital back in August, he was escorted home by a convoy of public safety vehicles. He was also handed an American flag, with a thin blue line and his badge numbers on it. The same badge numbers he radioed into dispatch Wednesday, with a big smile on his face, to let them know he is ready for duty.

“There’s a lot behind that smirk and what not and to hear him call 1041 on the radio was pretty neat,” said Chief Dunning.