INDIANAPOLIS -- Speaking in support of legislation to fund mental health services for law enforcement, an officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told the story of losing his leg and struggling with depression because of it.
Officer Travis Owens had an off-duty leg injury in 2001. Eight surgeries later, he made the decision to have it amputated.
"[The amputation] messed with my head, so to speak," Owens said.
He suffered from anxiety, depression and PTSD.
Owens spoke at a press conference with IMPD Chief Bryan Roach, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R) and Joe Donnelly (D), Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen, among others. Nielsen has called for more awareness and understanding of PTSD in law enforcement.
Owens is the first IMPD officer to have their leg cut off, he said as he pulled up his pant leg, revealing an artificial limb.
"It's hard to turn off the job," Owens said. "If you're going through personal issues at home, or you had a bad day at work, it's extremely hard to turn that off -- quite honestly, it's impossible."
He thanked his wife and his two daughters, ages 5 and 2, for their support in coming back to the department.
"I have friends that have been shot, friends that have committed suicide," he said. "It's hard, obviously. But my little girls need a dad. And by God, I'm going to be a dad. Nothing is going to stop me."
At the end of his speech, Owens looked over at Young and Donnelly and said, "This bill will get passed."
Young and Donnelly nodded and agreed. The bill, S.867, was sponsored by Donnelly and cosponsored by Young and four other U.S. Senators.