Cpl. Renae Peterson said as a patrol officer she has seen the worst of the worst when it comes to car crashes. When car crash victims are losing blood, every minute counts.
Last year she found herself in a life or death battle and others had to jump in to help save her. On May 24, 2020, she was shot while in the line of duty.
When she was shot she was a 16-year veteran of the Monroe Police Department. She was shot trying to apprehend two armed carjackers.
“I lost a lot of blood immediately,” Peterson said.
She was struck in the thigh and the torso, just under her bulletproof vest.
“The citizens, the bystanders that witnessed it and came to my aid immediately. I remember telling them, ‘I need help. I need help.’ Because at that moment I wasn’t even able to get to my radio to say, ‘Officer down,’” Peterson said.
Peterson remained conscious as fellow officers arrived at the scene.
“I do remember the feeling of blood running out of my bullet wounds and it was a very, very frightening moment in my life,” Peterson said.
Once she arrived at a hospital she was rushed into surgery.
“I was told that the first night they gave at least five units of blood. And they gave two more in the next two weeks that I was there in the ICU,” Peterson said.
She would require blood to battle an infection and again when her counts ran low. Peterson’s family said they are grateful the blood was there when she needed it.
“The doctor who saved my life that day as well. He said that when somebody loses that much blood. It is very much a miracle that they survive,” Peterson said.
There is a critical need for blood donations right now. In recent months, the Red Cross has sent 12% more blood products to hospitals but the pandemic continues to make collecting more a challenge. Peterson hopes more donors will come forward.
Peterson is still battling to get back on the job. She’s doing intense occupational therapy five days a week, trying to build back strength. She encourages everyone to give blood.