By Laurie White
10-33: An Officer Down Steps Back Up is the memoir of an incredible young woman whose journey through traumatic injury provides insights and lessons we can all benefit from. It tells the story of a young woman who graduates university in Ontario without a clearly defined life strategy to harness that education. Laurie White recounts her search for direction, meaning, and purpose prior to her decision to become a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She recounts the degree of commitment and the challenges she faces while attending Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan and graduating to earn the title of “Mountie”.
Posted from her home in Ontario to a community in Northern British Columbia, she is tested by the demands of learning police work. Despite being a single woman without readily available local personal support systems, she establishes herself as a competent, well-respected constable. Less than three years into her career, she is seriously wounded by a gunshot while serving an arrest warrant on a career pedophile. Her injuries require amputation of her right leg below the knee.
White recounts the impact of the loss of her leg over the next several years as she struggles to regain her position as a fully operational police constable with the RCMP. She is the first in organization history to return to full duties with a prosthetic leg. White’s story is full up heartbreaking, and yet uplifting. She recounts how she faces and overcomes physical pain and limitations that most of us cannot imagine, only to be nearly broken by emotional and psychological issues. Her journey over the ensuing years into establishing a “New Normal” redefines the dimensions of her identity as police officer, woman, mother, wife, and friend.
Although this book should be well read within the law enforcement profession, it should not be seen as a for-police-only volume. It is a story of the human experience in overcoming trauma and living with a disability. White shows how her initial battle is to survive her wounds and accomplish tangible goals; later, she moves past mere survival and begins to thrive and grow in life.
This book is written from a deeply personal perspective, and that demands a lot of courage on the part of the author. Once I began to read 10-33, I found it difficult to put down.
– Kevin M. Gilmartin, Ph.D., author of Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families
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